Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore
Monday, August 31, 2020, 3:18 PM

D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon granted a preliminary injunction today that prevents Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents from conducting “credible fear” interviews,” reports Zoe Tillman of BuzzFeed News. Ordinarily, as part of the process of determining the merits of an asylum claim, agents of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decide whether asylum seekers have a “credible fear” of returning to their homeland. Judge Leon held that delegating this interviewing power to the CBP violates federal immigration law because the CBP agents may not have enough training.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Michael Flynn’s request for emergency relief to the court to dismiss his criminal case, reports CNN. A panel of three judges on the circuit had voted 2-1 in ordering the district court to shut down Flynn’s case, with Judge Neomi Rao writing the opinion. Now District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan may proceed with a hearing to determine how to handle the Justice Department’s move to drop the prosecution against Flynn.

Senegal removed 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate from its Dakar port, according to The New York Times. A similar amount of the chemical material, left untouched for years, exploded in Beirut earlier this month and killed 200 people. Alfredo Parroquín-Ohlson, an official at the United Nations, explains that ports around the world are now checking whether they store dangerous material near population centers.

A diplomat named Mustafa Adib has become prime minister of Lebanon, reports The New York Times. Analysts say that the government intends for his rushed appointment to signal the government’s commitment to progress after August 4’s explosion in Beirut.

Israeli and American diplomats flew into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this morning to negotiate the details of Israel’s new partnership with Abu Dhabi, reports The Washington Post. On Saturday, the UAE formally ended its 1972 boycott of Israel, allowing the two countries to conduct business with each other free of legal obstacles. Questions remain about whether the U.S. will sell coveted fighter jets to the UAE over the objections of Israel.

India accused China today of “provocative military movements” in the disputed region of Eastern Ladakh, writes CNN. The accusation comes after Indian and Chinese troops had their deadliest clash in decades on June 15, with 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers dead after skirmishes in the Galwan Valley. Analysts note that China’s aggression also follows President Xi’s two-day national meeting on the status and security of Tibet, which also borders India.

Belarussians continue to protest dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s highly contested claim that he won a recent election, reports CBS News. Protesters have spent 21 days straight calling for free and fair elections, even as riot police arrested women in the streets this weekend and stripped reporters of their credentials. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that he would like Belarus to accept mediation from Europe’s Organization for Security and Cooperation, a worldwide security group that handles arms control, the promotion of human rights, and fair elections.

A recent report by the American Prospect explains that even as 102,494 prisoners have tested positive for Covid-19 in the United States, prisons in Arizona and New Jersey have taken drastic steps to limit inmates’ access to the media. These measures are “clearly an attempt to choke off information to the public about what’s going on in prisons,” according to attorney Daniel Barr.

Putin critic Yegor Zhukov was beaten outside of his home last night, reports The Washington Post. “I have not suffered any property damage, but my face is broken and I feel very bad,” said Zhukov in a statement. Just eleven days ago, opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned while flying to Siberia and then airlifted to a Berlin hospital. The Post explains that both attacks are widely suspected to be part of a crackdown on dissidents, activists and reporters.

Ethnic Mongolians are protesting in Northern China after President Xi’s government announced plans for Chinese language instruction, writes The Washington Post. Activists worry that the move by Beijing will gradually undermine ethnic Mongolian language, with the Post pointing to similar campaigns in Tibet and Xinjiang “that have left a younger generation of minorities monolingual and unmoored from their cultural roots.”

At least twelve people were arrested in Hong Kong while commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Prince Edward train station attack, reports the South China Morning Post. The attack in August 2019 featured riot police running after protesters, trailing them into train carriages, and then beating passengers with batons and pepper spray. On Sunday night, a man thought to be missing from last year’s commotion disclosed that he had fled to Britain.

ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

Kenneth M. Pollack and Joseph W. Rank argued that the United Arab Emirates’ increased military strength benefits the United States.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.