Connexions Resource Centre:
Focus on Civil Liberties and Human Rights
Recent & Selected Articles
- This is a small sampling of articles related to civil liberties and human rights in the Connexions Online Library. For more articles, books, films, and other resources, check the Connexions Library Subject Index, especially under topics such as
freedom of expression,
and political prisoners.
- Quebecers' right to protest restricted after 2012 "Maple Spring" in Canada (October 28, 2013)
In 2012, a massive student strike over tuition fee increases rocked Quebec and thousands took to the streets, marching in protest. In the aftermath, Montreal residents find that their ability to protest has been restricted, as the police employ increased powers to arrest and fine demonstrators.
- Ten Steps You Can Take Right Now Against Internet Surveillance (October 25, 2013)
One of the trends we've seen is how, as the word of the NSA's spying has spread, more and more ordinary people want to know how (or if) they can defend themselves from surveillance online. With a few small steps, you can make that kind of surveillance a lot more difficult and expensive, both against you individually, and more generally against everyone.
- Cops Are Now Less Cautious Than Soldiers In Iraq (October 10, 2013)
Police militarization is a hot topic lately, but American police are beyond anything contemplated by the American military. American police today appear unwilling to accept any risk whatsoever and seem willing to kill anyone and anything that could possibly be seen as a threat.
- Eavesdropping on the Planet (June 27, 2013)
Like a mammoth vacuum cleaner in the sky, the National Security Agency (NSA) sucks it all up: home phone, office phone, cellular phone, email, fax, telex
satellite transmissions, fiber-optic communications traffic, microwave links
voice, text, images
captured by satellites continuously orbiting the earth, then processed by high-powered computers
if it runs on electromagnetic energy, NSA is there, with high high tech. Twenty-four hours a day. Perhaps billions of messages sucked up each day. No one escapes. Not presidents, prime ministers, the UN Secretary-General, the pope, the Queen of England, embassies, transnational corporation CEOs, friend, foe, your Aunt Lena
- Lessons of the Snowden Revelations (June 20, 2013)
We in the Left have long worried about police state tactics. Now we have to confront the police state structure. Its here and it can morph into a real police state with very little effort. Opposing and dismantling it should now be among our top priorities.
- Spying by the Numbers (June 20, 2013)
Thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden many more people in the US and world-wide are learning about extensive US government surveillance and spying. There are publicly available numbers which show the reality of these problems are bigger than most think and most of this spying is happening with little or no judicial oversight.
- Capitalist Surveillance State: Everyone's a Target (June 10, 2013)
There is an inherent tendency for the state, which governs on behalf of a minuscule, ruthless class of obscenely wealthy exploiters, to attempt to amass ever greater power to control the population because it hates and fears the working people.
- Surveillance USA (June 7, 2013)
The government is merrily going about its business of keeping tabs on you in virtually every conceivable way.
- Tails: The amnesic Incognito Live System (2013)
Tails is an operating system like Windows or Mac OS, but one specially designed to preserve your anonymity and privacy.
- Liberties and Commons for All (August 24, 2012)
Liberties and Commons for All expresses two aspects of the ancient English Charters of Liberty; first is the restraint on political power of the King, second is the protection of subsistence in the commons.
- Obama signs police state legislation (January 1, 2012)
Militarism and aggressive war abroad go hand in hand with authoritarianism and dictatorship at home.
- Taking liberties: When elite representatives define 'national security' (October 24, 2011)
Most reporters assigned to the national security beat are not physically embedded within the RCMP and CSIS in the way those covering the occupation of Afghanistan seem to become stenographers for the Canadian military. But they tend to write as if they were, buying the assumptions created and sustained by those who benefit most from them while generally ignoring the fact that these agencies have a historical profile that reads "pathological liar."
- Connexions Archive Case Statement (September 24, 2011)
Working together to secure a future for the past
- The National Security State Cops a Feel (November 30, 2010)
Its finally coming into focus, and its not even a difficult equation to grasp. It goes like this: take a country in the grips of an expanding national security state and sooner or later your safety will mean your humiliation, your degradation. And by the way, it will mean the degradation of your country, too.
- The Fear Factor (November 17, 2010)
This study analyses the financial and human costs of the Harper government's tough on crime agenda and concludes it is wrong-headed, expensive, and counter-productive. In fact, it will likely lead to more crime and a bigger deficit.
- The Crimewave That Shames The World (September 13, 2010)
It's one of the last great taboos: the murder of at least 20,000 women a year in the name of 'honour'.
- Is this what a police state looks like? (June 29, 2010)
The corporate security state is not static - it will keep filling more and more space to the extent that they are allowed to by civil society. The police actions in Toronto are one of those key moments, one that we will look back on as a time when the authoritarian governments we now endure tested our resolve. They know exactly what they are doing. There was no spontaneous 'over-reaction.' There were no cops 'out of control' - the obvious fact is they were always in control. The decision to allow the Black Bloc to do its destructive work without any intervention at all was strategic. They were assisted in their work by the Black Bloc, some of them agents provocatuers, all of them enemies of social change.
- U.S. Intelligence planned to destroy Wikileaks (March 15, 2010)
This document is a classifed (SECRET/NOFORN) 32 page U.S. counterintelligence investigation into WikiLeaks. ``The possibility that current employees or moles within DoD or elsewhere in the U.S. government are providing sensitive or classified information to Wikileaks.org cannot be ruled out''. It concocts a plan to fatally marginalize the organization. Since WikiLeaks uses ``trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers or whisteblowers'', the report recommends ``The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistlblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web site''.
- Is Israel an Apartheid State? (March 6, 2010)
Do Israel's practices in occupied Palestinian territory, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, amount to the crimes of colonialism and apartheid under international law?
- Reporting Gender Based Violence (December 28, 2009)
Violence Against Women has presented particular challenges to the media and to society because of the way it has been consigned to the "private" sphere -- dampening public discussion and stifling media debate. Yet, the media has the potential to play a lead role in changing perceptions that, in turn, can help galvanize a movement for change. This toolkit seeks to help reporters and news managers grapple with the challenge of reporting gender based violence is a way that doe snot perpetuate gender stereotypes but informs and encourages public debate.
Selected Websites and Organizations
- This is a small sampling of organizations and websites concerned with human rights and civil liberties in the Connexions Directory. For more organizations and websites, check the Connexions Directory Subject Index, especially under topics such as
freedom of expression,
and political prisoners.
The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
- Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture
Provides programs and services for victims of torture.
- Gush Shalom
Gush Shalom (Translated from Hebrew, the name means "The Peace Bloc")
is the hard core of the Israeli peace movement. Often described as "resolute", "militant", "radical" or "consistent", it is known for its unwavering stand in times of crisis, such as the al-Aksa intifada. For years now, Gush Shalom has played a leading role in determining the moral and political agenda of the peace forces in Israel, as well as in breaking the so-called "national consensus" based on misinformation. Gush Shalom is an extra-parliamentary organization, independent of any party or other political grouping. Some of its activists do belong to political parties, but the Gush is not aligned to any particular party. The primary aim of Gush Shalom is to influence Israeli public opinion and lead it towards peace and conciliation with the Palestinian people.
- International Freedom of Expression Exchange
IFEX works to help build the foundations of healthy democracies by protecting the rights of journalists, free expression advocates and others to hold those in power accountable.
- Israel/Palestine: Resources for peace, justice, and human rights
A selection of resources for those looking for a solution to the Middle East crisis based on peace, justice, and human rights.
Steve Gibson's campaign against Internet spyware used by companies to extract information from Internet users' computers without their knowledge or consent.
- Reporters without Borders
Defends journalists and media assistants imprisoned or persecuted for doing their job and exposes the mistreatment and torture of them in many countries. Fights against censorship and laws that undermine press freedom. Works to improve the safety of journalists, especially those reporting in war zones.
Other Links & Resources
- Alasdair S. Roberts
Provides resources relating to Professor Alasdair Roberts' current research on freedom of information law.
A site offering services to allow anonymous Internet browsing, to defeat Internet sites which steal your information and violate your privacy.
- Article 19
Defends and promotes freedom of expression and freedom of information all over the world.
- Censorship in Canada - When the Censor Comes
Developed primarily for teachers, librarians, booksellers and others who disseminate the printed word, this guide offers basic information about dealing with would-be censors. Researched and written by Sandra Bernstein for the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council.
- Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
Believes that Israel is an apartheid state that resembles South African Apartheid and that justice will not be achieved without equal rights for everyone in the region, regardless of religion, ethnicity or nationality.
- Criminal Law & Crime Topic Index in Sources Directory of Experts
A subject guide to experts and spokespersons on topics related to criminal law and crime in the Sources directory for the media.
- Disabilities Topic Index in Sources Directory of Experts
A subject guide to experts and spokespersons on disability topics in the Sources directory for the media.
- Equality & Equity Topic Index in Sources Directory of Experts
A subject guide to experts and spokespersons on topics related to equality issues and equity in the Sources directory for the media.
- Feminists Against Censorship
A group of feminist academics and campaigners who fight censorship from a feminist perspective. They believe:
1) Censorship is a dangerous tool that is primarily used to suppress dissent from those who would challenge oppression by society and the state, and particularly victimizes minorities.
2) Censorship is used by those in power as a way to avoid dealing with serious, intractable problems in society that require real, imaginative action, and are not solved by banning words and images.
3) Women must have recourse to free expression in order to explore the truth of our own experience and sexuality that has been forcibly hidden from us for millennia, and the state must no longer be permitted to interfere with this discourse.
4) Censorship can never eliminate evil ideas, and so the best answer to bad speech is more speech.
5) Censorship gives unacceptable powers to the police to invade our privacy and harass individuals who they find threatening although they pose no threat to others.
- Forum 18
Everyone has the fundamental human right to freedom of thought, conscience and belief. Forum 18 expresses this fundamental right as: The right to believe, to worship and witness.
The right to change one's belief or religion. The right to join together and express one's belief.
- Freedom to Read Week
Freedom to Read Week encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom.
A one-stop portal that describes best practices, consolidates lessons learned, explains campaign strategies and tactics, and links the efforts of freedom of information advocates around the world. It contains crucial information on freedom of information laws and how they were drafted and implemented, including how various provisions have worked in practice.
- The Global Campagin to Stop Killing and Stoning Women
Campaign initiated by a group of lawyers, activists, journalists and academics in order to address the intensifying trend of cultural/religious legitimization of lethal violence against women.
- Human Rights & Civil Liberties Topic Index in Sources Directory of Experts
A subject guide to experts and spokespersons on topics related to human rights and civil liberties in the Sources directory for the media.
- Human Rights Library
Library of online documents in the human rights field.
- Index on Censorship
One of the world's leading repositories of original, challenging, controversial and intelligent writing on free expression issues. Documents free expression abuses in scores of countries world wide.and reports on censorship issues from all over the world.
- Intelligence Online
Online newsletter dealing with intelligence issues.
- Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
A non-violent, direct-action group originally established to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territories, now also engaged in resistance activities in other areas - land expropriation, settlement expansion, by-pass road construction, policies of "closure" and "separation," the wholesale uprooting of fruit and olive trees and more.
- Journalists for Human Rights
Human rights organization which seeks to harness the power of the media as a tool to combat human rights abuses.
- Law Enforcement & Corrections Topic Index in Sources Directory of Experts
A subject guide to experts and spokespersons on topics related to law enforcement and corrections in the Sources directory for the media.
Tracking efforts to stifle open debate about US-Israeli foreign policy.
- Not In My Name
A predominantly Jewish organization committed to a peaceful and just resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, one that will provide safety, security and freedom for Jews, Palestinians, and all others living in this region. Believes that such a peace can only be achieved when Israel withdraws from its settlements in the Palestinian territories and addresses the legitimate national and human rights of the Palestinian people.
- Online Rights for Online Workers - Privacy at Work
Deals with workers' right to privacy in the face of online surveillance by employers.
- Spies for Hire
Company profiles and articles related to intelligence outsourcing.
- Stop the Wall
Site of the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.
Books, Films and Periodicals
- This is a small sampling of books related to civil liberties and human rights in the
Connexions Online Library. For more books and other resources, check the Connexions Library
Subject Index, especially under topics such as
freedom of expression,
and political prisoners.
- Anti-Capitalist Demonstration of May 1, 2013 in Montreal
Journée des Travailleurs et Travailleuses: Manifestation Anti-Capitaliste
Montreal 2013: police state. Montreal's municipal goverment passes a bylaw that suspends the right of citizens to assemble unless they have received advance permission from police. Citizens who assert their right to assembly are kettled by police and arrested.
- Disability in the Majority World I've got a right!
New Internationalist November 2005
Discussion of people with dissability and their fight for equal rights.
- The End of Privacy
How Total Surveillance Is Becoming a Reality
Author: Whitaker, Reg
Whitaker argues that we live in a surveillance society; in order to get rewards and privileges, we have to give up our personal privacy to the government and corporations.
- Free Speech For Me - But Not For Thee
How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other
Author: Hentoff, Nat
Hentoff is a passionate believer in free speech who recognizes that if speech is truly to be free, we must protect the expression even of ideas we abhors. He catalogues with equal disapproval the efforts of both the right and the left to censor speech they don't like. While being sympathetic to those who object to allowing bigots, racists, pornographers, atheists, and others of many stripes the right to lay out ideas that one group or another finds repugnant, he makes both an intellectual and an emotional case for allowing everyone to have their say, no matter how much this may offend some. He points out that suppressing speech doesn't get rid of the underlying thought, but merely drives it underground and gives it the benefit of martyrdom.
- Gag Rule
On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy
Author: Lapham, Lewis H.
Dissent is democracy. Democracy is in trouble. Never before, Lapham argues, have voices of protest been so locked out of the mainstream conversation. A call to action in defense of one of the most important liberties, the right to raise our voices against the powers that be, and to have those voice heard.
- Human Rights: in a time of terror
New Internationalist January/February 2008
A look at human rights in various countries including women's and sex rights.
- Lockdown America
Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis
Author: Parenti, Christian
Why is criminal justice so central to American politics? Lockdown America not only documents the horrors and absurdities of militarized policing, prisons, a fortified border, and the federalization of the war on crime, it also explains the political and economic history behind the massive crackdown.
- The No-Nonsense Guide to Democracy
Author: Swift, Richard
Ths book explores how democracy is constricted and deformed by economic power-brokers and a self-serving political class.
- The No-Nonsense Guide to Global Surveillance
Author: Tudge, Robin
In the world of CCTV, email and DNA, this book shows the extent to which Big Brother is watching us all.
- The No-Nonsense Guide to Human Rights
Author: Ball, Olivia; Gready, Paul
- The No-Nonsense Guide to Women's Rights
Author: van der Gaag, Nikki
- Restricted Entry
Censorship on Trial
Author: Fuller, Janine; Blackley, Stuart
- Rights and Freedoms State Fear The Global attack on rights
New Internationalist March 2005
A look into rights and freedoms, the connection to occupation, and their state in different parts of the world.
- The Soft Cage
Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror
Author: Parenti, Christian; Rossetti, Chip (eds.)
Parenti explores the history of American surveillance from colonial times to the present. What this historical evidence clearly reveals is a continuum of the culture of surveillance. The weakest, most disenfranchised and most alienated groups are subjected first, and then the surveillance regime slowly spreads toward the mainstream.
- Terror Takeover
The monstrous march of the security state
Author: New Internationalist November 2009 - #427
Has our panic over terrorism given permission for unchecked abuse? The fear of terrorism has been used to curtail our liberties and violate human rights.
- When Freedoms Collide
The Case for Civil Liberties.
Author: Borovoy, A. Alan
Civil liberties are proclaimed as important in our society, but in reality they are under constant attack.
- When the Prisoners Ran Walpole
A true story in the movement for prison abolition
Author: Bissonette, Jamie
In the months before they took over running the Walople maximum-security facility in 1973, prisoners and outside advocates created programs that sent more prisoners home for good. This account reveals what can happen when there is public will for change and trust that the incarcerated can achieve it.
- Women Against Censorship
Author: Burstyn, Varda
Essays which argue that women have nothing to gain by allying themselves with anti-feminist forces and mainstream politicians. The contributors say that censorhip will be used against feminists who seek deep and permanent changes in the status quo.
Learning from our History
Resources for Activists
The Connexions Calendar - An event calendar for activists.
Media Names & Numbers - A comprehensive directory of Canada's print and broadcast media. (CX5857).
Sources - A directory that enables journalists to find spokespersons of organizations. Organizations that list themselves in Sources signficantly increase their odds of getting called by reporters when they are doing a story of their issues..
Donate or Volunteer
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