Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Clark
Thursday, July 5, 2018, 3:17 PM

Two British nationals were hospitalized after being exposed to a Soviet-era nerve agent, according to BBC. This latest incident bears striking similarities to an event in March when an ex-Russian spy and his daughter fell sick after they were exposed to a nerve agent called Novichok. The British government concluded at the time that it was “highly likely” Russia was behind the attack on the Skripals. Three months later, Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess collapsed on June 30 and remain at the hospital in critical condition. The home secretary could not confirm whether the nerve agent from the June 30 attack came from the same batch as the one used in March. He asked the Russian government to come forward and explain “exactly what has gone on.”

After the Polish government ordered 27 Supreme Court justices to retire, the chief justice is refusing to step down, reports the Wall Street Journal. A new law went into effect on July 4 mandating the retirement of all Supreme Court judges over the age of 65, and all female Supreme Court judges over 60. Twenty-seven of Poland’s 82 Supreme Court justices were asked to step down from the bench as a result. Justice Gersdorf refused the order, and says she is protesting “to defend the rule of law.” She went to work on Wednesday and the government did not intervene. The law also creates a disciplinary review board that will allow the government to reopen any case from the past 20 years to be reviewed by government-friendly judges. Poland's new law has raised concerns on the international stage that the Law and Justice party thwarting judicial independence and sliding in an authoritarian direction.

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by people whose information was disclosed in the DNC email hack who sought damages from the Trump campaign and Roger Stone for possible involvement in the theft and dissemination of the documents, according to Politico. Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle did not rule on the merits of the case, but instead found that the D.C. District Court lacked jurisdiction over the claim and therefore was the wrong venue in which to file it. She also made clear that “this Court’s ruling is not based on a finding that there was no collusion between defendants and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.” The plaintiffs suggested they will refile the case in another location.

After a wave of violent attacks in India, WhatsApp is offering $50,000 to anyone who can stop the stream of fake messages on the platform that are motivating the violence, reports the Washington Post. The attacks began in May 2017 in Jharkhand, a state in eastern India, after a message was spread around WhatsApp that a group of child abductors was in the area. Locals quickly began attacking anyone they did not recognize, eventually killing seven people. Similar messages have spread on WhatsApp since then, and at least a dozen people have been killed in more than five states over the past few weeks. WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, is now asking social scientists to help address the “WhatsApp lynchings,” as they have come to be known, and tackle the spread of misinformation.

The leader of the Islamic State’s son was killed during an attack in Syria, according to the New York Times. A news organization affiliated with the terrorist group announced the death of Hudhayfah al-Badri on Tuesday after an operation in eastern Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State and father of al-Badri, has not been heard from since September of 2017. According to a May intelligence report, he is currently residing in Syria along the Iraqi border.

ICYMI: Last Tuesday on Lawfare

Josh Blackman presented five unanswered questions left in the wake of the travel ban ruling.

Stewart Baker posted the latest Cyberlaw Podcast, in which Baker interviewed Duncan Hollis about his essay with Matt Waxman on international cybersecurity rulemaking.

J. Dana Stuster provided an update on the offensive in Yemen, the growing number of migrants along the Israeli border, and the Iranian president’s trip to Europe on this week’s Middle East Ticker.

Carrie Cordero and Quinta Jurecic compared the travel ban ruling to the family separations policy.

Jonathan Cedarbaum reviewed Daphne Richemond-Barak’s book: “Underground Warfare.”

Matthew Kahn posted the Senate intelligence committee’s review of the intelligence community’s January 2017 assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election..

Jen Patja Howell posted the latest Lawfare Podcast, in which w Turkey expert and former diplomat Amanda Sloat spoke to Benjamin Wittes about recent developments in Turkish politics.

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