Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Thursday, January 28, 2021, 2:51 PM

Facebook’s independent content-oversight board released its first five rulings, writes the Washington Post. The 20-person board overruled Facebook in four cases where the company had removed content and additionally issued nine policy recommendations. The six chosen test cases come from 150,000 submissions, and were chosen for their complexity of issues. Lawfare announced the launch of a new site resource, the Facebook Oversight Board (FOB) Blog, which will track the board’s cases and decisions as they come out.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered the release of the man convicted for the 2002 kidnapping and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, reports the New York Times. The court voted 2-1 to uphold a lower court’s decision to acquit and release Ahmed Omar Sheikh. It also ordered the release of three other men charged with involvement in Pearl’s death, on the grounds of initial insufficient evidence. The Pearl family stated the decision was “a complete travesty of justice,” that “puts in danger journalists everywhere” and urged the “U.S. government to take all necessary actions under the law to correct this injustice.”

A far-right Twitter troll was arrested and charged on Wednesday with spreading disinformation on Twitter during the 2016 election, reports the New York Times. Douglass Mackey is accused of coordinating with co-conspirators to mislead Hillary Clinton supporters by claiming they could vote via text message. This is the first criminal case in the United States regarding voter suppression through the spread of disinformation on Twitter.

The Pentagon will begin considering climate change in war game planning, reports the Hill. Following a series of climate-related executive orders, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced “the Department will immediately take appropriate policy actions to prioritize climate change considerations in our activities and risk assessments, to mitigate this driver of insecurity.”

President Joe Biden signed new executive orders to expand access to health care, according to the Associated Press. These orders are part of a larger plan to build upon the Obama administration goal of health insurance for all.

China made overt threats of conflict toward Taiwan, stating that “independence means war,” reports Reuters. The statement came after Washington urged Beijing to ease pressure on Taiwan, following an increase in Chinese military activities in the South China Sea.

A Russian court denied Alexei Navalny’s appeal for release from detention, writes the Washington Post. He expressed his support for the massive protests and called demonstrators the “defenders of our country and patriots of our country.” Russian authorities have also opened a case into Navalny’s close ally Leonid Volkov.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Nathaniel Persily and Charles Stewart III recommended a 12-step program to address the most significant challenges to election administration.

Bryce Klehm announced this week’s Lawfare Live, set to take place on Friday at 12 p.m., in which Persily and Stewart will join Benjamin Wittes to answer questions about their recent Lawfare article.

Philip Bobbitt argued why the Senate should not hold a late impeachment trial.

Jen Patja Howell shared this week’s episode of Rational Security, the “Domestic in the Extreme” edition.

Sam Cohen and Steve Floyd analyzed how illegal, unreported and unregistered (IUU) fishing can increase the risk of maritime conflict.

Howell also shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which David Kris and David Hatch, the senior historian at the U.S. National Security Agency, discussed Project VERONA.

Tia Sewell shared the livestream of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing on the nomination of Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be the ambassador to the United Nations.

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