Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Clark
Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 2:30 PM

The Supreme Court backed President Trump’s travel ban in a 5-4 decision, reports the Wall Street Journal. The ban prevents nationals from six Muslim-majority countries and North Korea, as well as a select number of Venezuelan officials, from entering the United States on national security grounds. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority opinion that the ban did not exceed Trump’s authority under Section 1182(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. Read the ruling and dissents on Lawfare.

The German police detained Osama bin Laden’s suspected bodyguard to prepare him for deportation, according to the Washington Post. The man, identified as Sami A., is accused of training with bin Laden’s guards in Afghanistan. He was investigated for extremist ties in 2007, but the charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence. The German courts allowed Sami A. to remain in Germany on the grounds that he feared persecuted if he returned to Tunisia, his home country. However, in an unrelated court decision released last month, judges rejected allegations by a Tunisian man involved in the 2015 Bardo National Museum attack that he would face lethal threat if he returned home. Germany’s interior minister cited that decision when he called for Sami A,’s deportation. The announcement was celebrated by many Germans who criticized the government for providing welfare payments to Sami A. while he lived in Germany.

Eight tech companies teamed up with intelligence officials to prepare for electoral security, reports the New York Times. According to three people present at the meeting, Facebook hosted representatives from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Oath, Snap and Twitter at its Menlo Park headquarters. Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI joined the tech officials. Many of these companies have come under criticism in recent years due to numerous misinformation campaigns aimed at electoral interference. The meeting marked the first time that the tech and intelligence communities came together for an in-depth discussion on security.

More than 2,000 Spanish parents have filed cases alleging their babies were stolen and given to allies of the Franco regime. The first trial began Tuesday, reports CNN. Beginning in the 1930s, doctors, politicians, and religious officials took babies from their parents and gave them as rewards to those who helped Francisco Franco’s government. The children are called “niños robados” or “stolen babies,” and victims’ groups suspect that tens of thousands of these children were taken from their parents during Franco’s rule. The scandal first broke in 2011 after two men reported that their fathers bought them as children from a Spanish priest, but Ines Madrigal is the first “niña robada” to see her case go to trial. Madrigal believes she was given to a woman named Ines Perez by Eduardo Vela, an obstetrician, as repayment for Perez’s help on a different matter. Perez, who died two years ago, previously told CNN: “They didn’t give me flowers or money. They gave me a baby girl.” Vela faces charges of illegal detention of a minor and forging a public document.

The Taliban captured more than 80 Afghan police officers, according to the Long War Journal. A Taliban news outlet reported dozens of enemy casualties on top of the 72 officers who “surrendered themselves … after putting up a small resistance.” The provincial council in Wardak said the Taliban took more than 80 of its police officers during the attack. The Taliban has targeted ten provinces in the last four days, but the Afghan government says it will continue to uphold its unilateral ceasefire.

Another migrant ship is stranded in the Mediterranean Sea after European leaders deny responsibility, reports CNN. The ship picked up 234 migrants off the Libyan coast on Thursday, and Italy and Malta have refused to let the ship dock for the last five days. It now sits 24 miles off the Maltese coast. On Sunday, five European officials spent the night aboard the ship observing the conditions for themselves. Two German lawmakers called the situation “unbearable.” A similar standoff occurred last month after Italy and Malta refused to accept a ship with more than 600 migrants onboard. Spain eventually let the boat dock.

In December 2017, China acquired a failing, debt-ridden, and strategically located port from the Sri Lankan government. For China, the port represented a key, strategic addition to its Belt and Road trade initiative. Announced in 2015, the Belt and Road plan aims to revive historic trade routes in order to bolster international trade. Over the past three years, China has lent aggressively to vulnerable countries so they can build ports and other infrastructure necessary to engage in the global economy. To date, the Chinese government has funded at least 35 ports around the globe. The Times conducted a months-long investigation into the Sri Lankan port project as an illustration of China’s larger efforts.

President Trump threatened Harley-Davidson with taxes “like never before” after the company announced it was moving some production overseas in response to European tariffs, reports the Journal. On Monday, the motorcycle manufacturer reported that the European Union’s new 31 percent tariff would drastically increase the price of motorcycles shipped to Europe from the United States. The company decided to move production out of the U.S. to avoid tariffs instead of raising prices.

Artificial intelligence will now flag army vehicles in need of maintenance before they fail, according to the Post. The U.S. Army signed a $1 million contract with Uptake Technologies to test the company’s AI on a small number of vehicles before expanding it to more extensive use.

The U.S. condemned the recent Houthi missile attack on Riyadh, according to a State Department press release. Saudi Arabia intercepted two missiles that Iran-backed rebels launched towards its capital on June 24. A Reuters witness reported hearing six loud blasts and seeing bright flashes in the sky over Riyadh. U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Saudi Arabia, and argued “These actions only exacerbate the conflict in Yemen.”

Australia will buy $7 billion worth of military planes from the United States. The Australian government plans to purchase long-range surveillance drones to extend its ability to monitor military ships at sea. The Sydney Morning Herald has the full story.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Garrett Hinck summarized several cyber-norm initiatives that the members of the private sector have proposed.

Aditya Bamzai reflected on the Ortiz ruling in light of his arguments before the Supreme Court as an amicus curiae.

Kemal Kirisci interpreted Turkey’s election results.

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