Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Anna Salvatore, Tia Sewell
Friday, November 6, 2020, 3:16 PM

Presidential candidate Joe Biden currently leads the vote count over President Trump in Pennsylvania and Georgia as vote-counting continued overnight, reports the New York Times. If Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania holds, he will win the presidency. And in Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Rafefnsperger has already promised a recount given the thin margin between the two candidates.

As the nation awaits an official election result, the president and his allies have spread disinformation about voting through right-wing media and internet platforms, according to the Times. ABC, CBS and NBC cut away from President Trump’s speech during a White House press conference last night due to baseless and false statements made by the president. “This is part of a broader misinformation campaign that involves some political theater,” Bob Bauer, a senior adviser for the Biden campaign and Lawfare contributor, told reporters. “All of this is intended to create a large cloud that it is the hope of the Trump campaign that nobody can see through. But it is not a very thick cloud, it’s not hard to see what they’re doing—we see through it; so will the courts, and so will election officials.”

Facebook last night rolled out its most-aggressive measures yet to police the debate over election results, writes the Wall Street Journal. Renée DiResta, the technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory and Lawfare contributor said, “This is indicative of what many of us predicted, a free-for-all in which wild allegations are being thrown around that the election is being stolen.” Facebook banned a rapidly growing group called “Stop the Steal” that was seeking to organize protests against vote-counting in the United States and invoked other temporary emergency steps to prevent the spread of misleading and potentially dangerous information on its platform.

For the first time, Australia has charged a Chinese citizen under its foreign interference laws, reports ABC News. The Australian Federal Police said yesterday that they had charged Di Sanh Duong, the leader of a Chinese community organization, but that details of the allegation are still not available for the public. However, the federal police did allege in a statement that Duong has a relationship with a foreign intelligence agency. The charge comes as China increased trade restrictions against Australian citizens and expelled Aussie journalists from the country last week.

Yesterday, the United States reported a national record of coronavirus cases in a single day with 116,707 new infections. The record came as the U.S. COVID-19 death toll exceeded 1,000 for the third consecutive day, reports the Washington Post. Every region of the country is seeing increases in the number of coronavirus cases reported. At least 234,000 people have died from the virus to date.

Italy is under a night curfew as coronavirus infections are at their highest in six months, writes the BBC. The country is divided into red, yellow and green zones based on risk levels. In the red zones such as Lombardy, citizens are only allowed to leave their homes for certain essential reasons like grocery shopping.

Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed defended his decision to launch a war in the Tigray region of the country, writes Reuters. The prime minister, who won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, claimed that the military campaign had “clear, limited and achievable objectives.” The prime minister added that the action was necessary to “disarm any security force of the regional state,” a reference to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, a powerful political force which Abiy claims has oppressed Ethiopians for decades.

Austrian officials have suspended a top intelligence chief for what they call “obvious, and in our view intolerable mistakes” in failing to anticipate Monday night’s shooting. BBC reports that the Austrian government learned in July that the suspected gunman, who repeatedly visited jihadist-linked mosques over the past year, had also tried to buy ammunition in Slovakia.

After recent terror attacks in Austria and France, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed yesterday to propose tighter immigration controls to the European Union. While referring to a European zone that allows unrestricted movement without border control, President Macron said, “I am in favor of a deep overhaul of Schengen … to strengthen our common border security with a proper border force.” According to France 24, Macron added that criminal gangs that illegally bring migrants into Europe are often linked to terror networks.

Hurricane Eta has caused flooding and mudslides in Central America that have killed more than 50 people, writes Deutsche Welle. The president of Guatemala said yesterday that thousands of her citizens are without shelter as the mud crushed some homes and massive flooding rendered many others inaccessible. The Weather Channel observes that Eta may re-strengthen and move towards South Florida in the coming week.

Deutsche Welle also reports that internet restrictions in Tanzania are disrupting both the economy and citizens’ free speech. The Tanzanian government slowed down the internet days before general elections on Oct. 28, which has had a dramatic impact on the country’s more than two million internet users. Civicus, a human rights monitor, noted that Tanzania has suffered a “dramatic decline” in freedom of expression over the past few years, pointing to a recent law requiring that bloggers register and pay a fee of $900.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Gebran Bassil, the son-in-law of Lebanon’s president, reports Reuters. U.S. officials sanctioned Bassil under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, citing Bassil’s corruption and ties to Hezbollah.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Doowan Lee and Devan Shannon suggested how the U.S. can enact sustainable and cost-effective counterterrorism.

Lester Munson shared an episode of the Fault Lines podcast entitled “Election Spectacular.” Munson, Jamil Jaffer, Jodi Herman and special guest Bishop Harrison discussed how the presidential candidates’ foreign policy would differ.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast entitled “We’re Almost Done.” Benjamin Wittes spoke with Scott Anderson, David Priess, Jacob Schulz, Quinta Jurecic and Susan Hennessey to talk about the state of the general election and the challenges Biden’s transition team may face.

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