Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Vishnu Kannan
Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 3:57 PM

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the U.S. has banned the commander of the Myanmar military and three of his top-ranking generals from travelling to the U.S. in retaliation for their roles in atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims since 2017, which the U.N. has called a “genocide,” the New York Times reports. A spokesman for the Myanmar military said that while the ban “does insult the Myanmar military’s dignity,” it has little practical effect.

Pakistani authorities arrested Hafid Saeed, the leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba and accused mastermind of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, on charges of financing terrorism in advance of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington next week, according to Reuters. In 2017, Saeed was put under house arrest but subsequently released and cleared of all charges, a move criticized by the U.S. and India.

Leaders of the Sudanese military and civilian opposition signed the previously-reported power sharing agreement, which provides for a transitional military-civilian council followed by a transitional civilian government and finally national elections, the Guardian writes. Crucially for civilian advocates, the agreement provides for an independent review of the military crackdown on a peaceful sit-in, which drew international condemnation.

Recent research from the Times and the Center for Advanced Defense Studies sheds light on the complex logistics network North Korea uses to procure luxury items in violation of international sanctions, the Times reports.

The European Union announced an antitrust investigation into Amazon, the Post says. They will look into the company’s relationship with its sellers and the use of third-party seller data.

Bulgarian law enforcement officers arrested a 20-year-old cybersecurity worker for his involvement in the hacking of the nation’s tax agency, which exposed the information of millions in the country, Reuters informs. The agency now faces a fine of up to $22.43 million for the data breach, which experts say was successful due to poor cybersecurity practices.

Google executive Karan Bhatia confirms to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that the company has ended “Project Dragonfly,” its plan to launch a censored search engine in China, the BBC reports. The project had been reportedly halted last year, but this is the first public confirmation on it, according to BuzzFeed News. Following accusations made by Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir Technologies, that Google may have been infiltrated by Chinese intelligence agencies, President Trump said his administration “will take a look!” into it, Reuters writes.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Gabe Rottman cautions Congress about expanding the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA).

Robert Litt praised Alex Joel’s service following the announcement that Joel would be stepping down after 14 years as a civil liberties protection officer in the Office of Director of National Intelligence.

Mary Ellen O’Connell reviewed Rebecca Sanders’ new book, “Plausible Legality: Legal Culture and Political Imperative in the Global War on Terror.”

Peter Margulies argued that the Trump administration’s new asylum rule exceeds statutory authority.

Vishnu Kannan shared the ACLU’s court filing challenging the Trump administration’s changes to asylum eligibility rules.

Kannan also shared a livestream of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s hearing on the nomination of Mark Esper to be Secretary of Defense.

Jen Patja Howell shared the most recent Lawfare Podcast, in which Benjamin Wittes and Jared Diamond discuss the latter’s recent book, ““Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency,” in which he examines the rise of authoritarianism around the world and argues for the U.S. readopting its role as a global defender of democracy.

Patja Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security, in which Tamara Cofman Wittes, Shane Harris, Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes discuss Joe Biden’s recent foreign policy speech, the Trump administration’s asylum rules and Jullian Assange’s curious guests at the Ecuadorian embassy.

Stewart Baker shared the most recent episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with Harvey Rishikoff and Joyce Corell on the federal government’s cyber supply chain security policies and a news roundup covering a ruling in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the general data privacy regulation and more.

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