The Soufan Group Morning Brief


Morning Brief: Apple Refuses Court Order To Unlock San Bernardino Phone

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2016
APPLE REFUSES COURT ORDER TO UNLOCK SAN BERNARDINO PHONE
Apple’s CEO said in a statement on Wednesday that his company will not comply with a federal judge’s order to bypass security functions on the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. Apple CEO Tim Cook called the request “an overreach by the U.S. government” and warned that creating a way to unlock the phone would be the equivalent of creating “a master key” to iPhones. The court order does not require Apple to break the phone’s encryption, but rather to disable a feature that erases the phone’s data after 10 incorrect password attempts. New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Guardian

Related:
Washington Post: Why Apple is in a historic fight with the government over one iPhone
Lawfare: Apple's Challenge to Magistrate's Order for Assisting the FBI
NPR: Apple, The FBI And iPhone Encryption: A Look At What's At Stake
Daily Beast: Apple Unlocked iPhones for the Feds 70 Times Before
Buzzfeed News: Apple’s FBI Privacy Fight Is A Battle For Our Trust
Slate: Apple vs. the FBI: The company is taking an unlikely stand for consumers’ right to privacy. It may also be helping itself
9/11 DETAINEE BOYCOTTS GUANTANAMO COURT PROCEEDINGS
On Wednesday, the judge in the trial of five suspects accused of planning the 9/11 attacks refused to allow one of the men to dismiss his legal defense team. The suspect, Walid bin Attash, responded by saying he would boycott the court’s proceedings and refuse all contact with his appointed defense lawyers. Bin Attash’s attorney, Cheryl Bormann, claimed that she was no longer able to effectively defend her client, citing government disruptions of attorney-client privilege. Bin Attash and the four other suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, have been charged, with 2,976 counts of murder for funding and training the 9/11 hijackers, among other charges. Miami Herald, Reuters

Related:
Huffington Post: A Cloud Hanging Over the Military Commissions

ISIS in Detroit: On Wednesday, a man suspected of plotting an ISIS-inspired attack on a Detroit church was indicted on two counts of firearm charges, but no terrorism-related charges. 21-year-old Khalil Abu-Rayyan was arrested by the FBI on February 4 and had been under investigation since last May for “increasingly violent” threats he made about “committing acts of terror and martyrdom.” Abu-Rayyan’s defense claims that an undercover FBI agent manipulated and “tried to radicalize him.” The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press

ISIS propaganda: Secretary of State John Kerry met with Hollywood executives to discuss ways the American film industry can counter ISIS propaganda and messaging. Tuesday’s meeting, which included top executives from NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., and Disney, among others, was characterized as a “brainstorming” session with a “give and take of ideas from all sides.” The Hill, Los Angeles Times

Related:
Business Insider: John Kerry met with Hollywood studio heads to 'brainstorm' how to fight ISIS propaganda
Vanity Fair: The Problem with John Kerry’s Big Hollywood Pitch
 
TRUMP SAYS “TORTURE WORKS”
On Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reinforced his position on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, saying he believes “we should go much stronger than waterboarding” and that “torture works.” Trump’s comments came at a campaign event in South Carolina, two days after he wrote an op-ed published in USA Today with the same position. Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN

Related:
Atlantic: Donald Trump's Specious Claims About Torture
Time: Cruz Closes In on Trump in New National Poll
Buzzfeed News: Trump Wrote Iraq WMDs Were Threat Year Before Bush Took Office


CAR BOMB ON TURKISH MILITARY CONVOY KILLS 28 IN ANKARA
On Wednesday a car bomb targeted a military convoy of buses full of Turkish soldiers in the capital, Ankara, killing 28 and wounding more than 60 people. No group took responsibility for the attack, but Turkish officials believe Kurdish militants may have been involved. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to the attack, declaring that “Turkey will not shy away from using its right to self-defense at any time, any place or any occasion.” New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Guardian

Related:
Time: Ankara Bombing the Latest in Turkey’s Deadly Cycle of Violence
Huffington Post: Photos Show Fire And Smoke Engulfing Ankara District After Deadly Car Bomb
Foreign Policy: Syria Cease-Fire Brings Turkey Closer to War
Washington Post: U.S. support for Syrian Kurds ‘a big strategic mistake,’ Turkish envoy says

Afghanistan: The Taliban used child soldiers in a battle to capture the city of Kunduz in Afghanistan last year, according to a report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch. Children as young as 10 years old were reported to have participated in the fighting. The Taliban allegedly begins indoctrinating children from as early as 6 years old. New York Times, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle

Syria: Over 100 trucks carrying humanitarian aid arrived in five besieged areas in Syria on Wednesday. The aid delivery comes following Tuesday’s UN-brokered deal with Damascus to allow access to thousands of residents in areas cut off from relief supplies such as food and medicine. New York Times, Reuters

Related:
Reuters: Kurds’ advance in Syria divides U.S. and Turkey as Russia bombs


Australia: A UN panel of human rights experts said on Wednesday that the Australian government violated the rights of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee. As part of a plea deal, David Hicks, an Australian national, was kept in jail for nine months after his transfer from the U.S. military prison. The UN panel rejected the nine month sentence and called the U.S. military court’s decision a “flagrant denial of justice.” However, the UN panel ruled that Australia does not need to make reparation payments to Hicks. Hicks was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and held at Guantanamo from January 2002 to May 2007 when he pleaded guilty to providing material support to Al Qaeda. Yahoo News, Guardian

Kenya: The Kenyan government plans to build a special prison to hold “violent and extremist” offenders. Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta said that the country must not allow extremists to “spread their poison to vulnerable Kenyans.” Last June, Kenyatta proposed a deradicalization campaign to prevent people from joining violent extremist groups such as Al Shabab. Reuters, BBC News

Related:
The Telegraph: Kenya plans for extremist prison raises fears of ‘African Guantánamo’
Vice News: Kenya Plans to Build a Separate Prison for 'Extremist' Offenders, President Says

Russia: The FSB, Russia’s security service, announced on Wednesday that seven alleged ISIS members were charged with planning “high-profile terrorist attacks” in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The suspects were arrested in police raids on February 7 in Yekaterinburg. CNN

France: French parliament voted Tuesday to extend the state of emergency put in place following last November’s Paris attacks for another three months to May 26. Critics of the emergency measures claim that the warrantless searches and raids on homes go too far and violate citizens’ privacy. The emergency powers also allow authorities to place people under house arrest without evidence of wrongdoing. Less than 1 percent of the operations have resulted in new terrorism charges, according to a report published on Wednesday in The New York Times. New York Times
TOP OP-EDS
The great dumbing-down of US foreign policy: “American presidential campaigns no longer offer voters reasoned debate about world affairs or foreign policy,” writes Stephen Kinzer in The Boston Globe. “When Republican candidates speak of diplomacy, it is usually to denounce President Obama for using it.”

Start Preparing for the Collapse of the Saudi Kingdom: “Saudi Arabia is no state at all. There are two ways to describe it: as a political enterprise with a clever but ultimately unsustainable business model, or so corrupt as to resemble in its functioning a vertically and horizontally integrated criminal organization,” write Sarah Chayes and Alex de Waal on Defense One. “Either way, it can’t last. It’s past time U.S. decision-makers began planning for the collapse of the Saudi kingdom.”

Send Putin a Message in Eastern Europe: “The best way to deter Putin’s belligerence is to put a military presence in Eastern Europe sufficient to convince him that any aggression would be vulnerable to a serious American-led reprisal,” writes The Editorial Board of Bloomberg View. “Unfortunately, as Putin looks west, he sees little to intimidate him.”
EDITOR'S PICK

SOUFAN GROUP
For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Displacement, and Despair

ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Center on National Security at Fordham Law will host “Iran in Context” with Laura Secor and Hooman Majd on February 23, 2016. To RSVP, click here.
 




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