Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Vishnu Kannan
Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 12:42 PM

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the most recent U.S. sanctions against Iran “outrageous and idiotic.” The Iranian foreign minister added that the implementation of sanctions means “the permanent closure of the doors of diplomacy.” U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said that if the Iranian government does not “get the point,” the U.S. “will simply enhance the maximum-pressure campaign further,” and that “the combination of sanctions and other pressure” would “bring Iran to the table,” the Washington Post reports. The Iranian government also announced it would take new steps to reduce its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, arguing that European signatories had not done enough to save the agreement, Reuters writes.

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte announced that an investigation into the sinking of a Filipino boat by a Chinese vessel in the South China Sea found the incident to be an ordinary maritime accident that should not strain Chinese-Philippines ties, the New York Times reports. His announcement comes as near-daily protests by Philippine nationalist groups call for the crew of the Chinese vessel to be turned over for trial. As part of his efforts to avoid tensions that could lead to conflict at sea, Duterte said, “There was no confrontation...There was no bloody violence.” “Well, I’m sorry, but that’s how it is.”

Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found three Chinese banks in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena under the USA Patriot Act as part of an investigation into North Korea’s sanctions violations, triggering a provision that could entirely cut them off from the U.S. financial system, the Post writes. The banks are under investigation for their dealings with a Hong Kong company accused of laundering more than $100 million for the North Korean state-run Foreign Trade Bank.

The vice-governor of China’s Xinjiang province defended the state-run detention camps in which experts say the Chinese government is holding more than a million Uighurs and other Muslims. The vice-governor argued that the camps were vocational centers which helped protect people from extremist influences. Dolkun Isa, president of the exiled World Uighur Congress, led a protest in Geneva on Monday in which he accused the Chinese government of “hiding the reality of what is happening to Uighurs,” per Reuters.

Security researchers at Cyberreason Nocturnus reported a persistent attack campaign against telecommunications providers. The attackers were attempting to steal communications data of specific individuals in various countries, using tools and techniques commonly associated with the China-affiliated hacking group APT10.

 

ICYMI: Last Weekend on Lawfare

Bob Bauer argued that President Trump is challenging legal and normative limits of presidential authority to use executive branch resources to run re-election campaigns.

Bruce Riedel analyzed the U.N. report formally blaming Saudi Arabia for the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

Scott Anderson discussed the president’s legal authority to go to war with Iran.

Bobby Chesney examined the legal context for U.S. Cyber Command’s reported operation against Iran.

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