01 Mar

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

Apple case: judge rejects FBI request for access to drug dealer’s iPhone

Judge James Orenstein says government’s position has implications that are ‘so far reaching as to produce impermissibly absurd results’

A judge has denied an FBI request for access to a drug dealer’s phone. apple

A judge has denied an FBI request for access to a drug dealer’s phone. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

A federal judge on Monday rejected an FBI request to order Apple to open the iPhone of a drug dealer in a major setback to the US government’s increasingly heated efforts to force the company to help unlock an iPhone used by a San Bernardino terrorist.

The ruling late on Monday by magistrate judge James Orenstein rejected the US Justice Department’s attempt to gain access to the iPhone of accused crystal meth dealer Jun Feng, whose case is ongoing, though Feng has pleaded guilty. He will be sentenced in April.

The ruling comes just hours before Apple and justice department officials are set to clash in Congress over a court ruling calling on Apple to weaken the password protection of an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino killer Syed Farook.

Apple has called the move “unconstitutional” while the Justice Department has dismissed the company’s concerns as a marketing stunt and argued it endangers lives by leaving law enforcement blind.

“It is still our hope that they will see their way clear to complying with that order as thousands of other companies do every day,” attorney general Loretta Lynch told Fox News on Monday………………….


In releasing final 3,800 documents, State Department also settled a long-running dispute over a sensitive email about North Korea’s nuclear program

The final emails were released a day before Hillary Clinton competes in 11 Democratic primary contests on Super Tuesday.

The final emails were released a day before Hillary Clinton competes in 11 Democratic primary contests on Super Tuesday. Photograph: Molly Riley/AP

The State Department on Monday released the 14th and final batch of emails from former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s private server, bringing the total to more than 52,000, including 2,100 that were censored or withheld completely for containing information now deemed classified.

In releasing the final batch of 3,800 documents, the department also settled a long-running dispute over one sensitive email as intelligence agencies dropped a months-long demand for an exchange on North Korea’s nuclear program to be designated “top secret”, the highest level of classification. The State Department, which had insisted the information was not classified at all, partially won its battle over the document as the intelligence community revised its initial assessment and determined the information was “secret”, the next-lower classification.

“Based on subsequent review, the intelligence community revisited its earlier assessment,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters. He added: “The original assessment was not correct and the document does not contain top-secret information.”

The announcement came a day before Clinton competes in 11 Democratic primary contests. She is the frontrunner to win the Democratic presidential nomination. The department faced a Monday deadline set by a federal judge to release the final documents from the private server Clinton exclusively used while in government. Clinton aides went through her emails and turned over the ones they determined to be work-related…………


Holy See-owned L’Osservatore Romano hails Tom McCarthy’s best picture Oscar winner, which shows systemic abuse and cover-ups by Catholic church

Spotlight’s producers accept the 2016 best picture Oscar

Message to the Pope … Spotlight’s producers accept the 2016 best picture Oscar. Photograph: AARON POOLE / AMPAS / HANDOUT/EPA

The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, has praised the 2016 best picture Oscar winner Spotlight for its convincing attempt to show abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic church.

The newspaper published a front-page editorial on Monday hailing Tom McCarthy’s film and calling it “not anti-Catholic”. The editorial said Spotlight, which centres on the work of a group of Boston Globe reporters to uncover abuse by Roman Catholic priests, faithfully presented the church’s attempts to defend itself in the face of “horrendous realities”.

“Not all monsters wear cassocks. Paedophilia does not necessarily arise from the vow of chastity,” wrote the editorial’s author, Lucetta Scaraffia. “However, it has become clear that in the Church some are more preoccupied with the image of the institution than of the seriousness of the act.”

Spotlight paints a picture of widespread abuse by members of the Catholic church in Boston and elsewhere, with officials turning a blind eye to the molestation of hundreds of children by priests over a period of decades. The reporters responsible won the 2003 Pulitzer prize for public service………………


Teargas fired during overnight clashes at ‘Jungle’ refugee camp after police confront people throwing stones at demolition teams

Shelters in Calais are set on fire as refugees protest over the decision to start dismantling dozens of makeshift shacks in the southern part of the camp known as the ‘Jungle’ on Monday. French authorities plan to relocate the refugees into purpose-built accommodation, following a court order last week

Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

Read: clashes as French authorities pull down homes in Calais ‘Jungle’ camp

Migrants and refugees at the makeshift Jungle camp in Calais are staging a sit-in protest on top of shelters in an attempt to protect their makeshift homes from demolition teams who resumed work on Tuesday.

About two-dozen residents, with a few French activists, placed themselves on top of hut roofs as riot police arrived at the site.

Riot police fired more teargas overnight after an operation to dismantle hundreds of temporary shelters sparked clashes on Monday.

There was no immediate sign of unrest on Tuesday. Activists said some people had been forcibly removed from shelters earlier in the morning, with at least two taken away by police.

Works crews in Calais continued the steady and methodical demolition of the camp throughout Tuesday morning, protected by dense lines of French police.

The orange-vested workers used power tools and their hands to pull down the makeshift wooden huts, the remnants of which were cleared away by diggers and put into giant metal skips.

The section of the camp being cleared so far, home mainly to Iranian nationals, was lined with riot police, some carrying shields, CS gas canisters and masks……………….


For a second day, Australia’s most senior Catholic faces questioning about what he knew of abuse that occurred within the Diocese of Ballarat and the church’s response

Watch Cardinal Pell give evidence from Rome – live stream
Cardinal Pell testimony brings sex abuse to Vatican’s doorstep
Incurious George: Pell heard talk of sex abuse by priests, but ‘rarely indulged’ rumours

Cardinal George Pell, giving evidence in Rome to Australia’s royal commission on institutional responses to child sexual abuse, says he did not know whether paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale’s offending was common knowledge in the parish of Inglewood. Pell’s comment that, “It’s a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me”, drew an audible gasp from those listening to the videolink in Sydney. Pell added: “The suffering, of course, was real and I very much regret that, but I had no reason to turn my mind to the extent of the evils that Ridsdale had perpetrated.”

I’ll close this article now with some comments from David Ridsdale, who is a survivor of Father Gerald Ridsdale, his uncle. He has been watching the hearings from Rome. David Ridsdale tells me:

When he said he wasn’t that interested in the crimes of my uncle, yeah, that was a hard one.

And wasn’t it just an amazing coincidence that almost every single person who was involved with the consultors knew of his abusing, except George Pell. Pell keeps pretending he’s a friend of survivors. If that was true, he should have ended the evidence by saying; ‘You know what? I should have asked more questions at the time. But I didn’t, and I’m so sorry’.

Peter McClellan and Gail Furness, they did a remarkable job. They held their professional stance. Pell tried a couple of times at humour and really it was belligerence.


US politics

Election 2016


Apple and FBI look to Congress to settle battle over iPhone encryption

Bernie Sanders raises $5.7m in one day before Super Tuesday contests – as it happened

Bernie Sanders: I can beat the Donald because ‘love trumps hatred’ – video

Last of Hillary Clinton’s emails from private server released

A bruising day on Planet Trump

Trump, the KKK and David Duke: four days of conflicting remarks – video

Nebraska Republican senator Ben Sasse says he won’t vote for Trump

Could Cthulhu trump the other Super Tuesday contenders?

Crisis for Republican party as Trump heads for Super Tuesday victory


So far, Trump has only insulted, abused and patronized service members and veterans on the trail. That’s no way to win our support

No, Donald Trump, attending a behavior modification military academy doesn’t make you a combat veteran.

No, Donald Trump, attending a behavior modification military academy doesn’t make you a combat veteran. Photograph: Richard Ellis/Getty Images

Donald Trump has disparaged many a group – most recently, he refused to flat-out denounce white supremacy – but his transgressions against the military have been less remarked upon.

The disrespect that the Republican frontrunner for the presidential nomination has consistently shown towards veterans and service members is unprecedented, especially for a member of the party that, at least nominally, prides itself on being more supportive of the troops.

On Friday, on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, former head of the CIA and NSA Michael Hayden said that the American armed forces would “refuse to act” if a President Trump actually gave some of the orders that he’s been proposing on the campaign trail. Troops are required to refuse unlawful orders (as would be Trump’s proposed targeting of terrorists’ family members), but the statement reveals a deep antipathy that the defense establishment harbors for Trump. It’s an antipathy that I share as a former US army infantry soldier.

Trump’s disrespect of veterans began long before the current election cycle. On the Howard Stern show back in 1997, sandwiched in between a bunch of embarrassing comments about women, Trump compared his sex life in the 1980s to a war experience.

“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there – it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier,” Trump bloviated. And while it’s true that being crass and disgusting is the entire point of the Howard Stern show, for someone who wants to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces to indulge himself by denigrating the war experiences of veterans is beyond the pale.

Trump has no way to know if dating has anything in common with combat, because he was a draft dodger. As Tim Mak wrote in the Daily Beast: “When Trump had the chance to join the military and fight in Vietnam, he did not take it. Instead, the rich kid got multiple student deferments from the draft and a medical deferment.”



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