Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Thursday, March 4, 2021, 3:52 PM

The Pentagon is reviewing a request by the Capitol Police to have a two month extension of National Guard forces in the U.S. Capitol, where they have been providing added security following the Jan. 6 attack, writes the Associated Press. There have been continued concerns about potential violence and the request comes amidst news of a “possible plot” on March 4 by a militia group. Currently there are over 5,000 Guard members in Washington D.C., and their mission is set to end on March 12. 

The Central Intelligence Agency has formed a task force to investigate the cause of mysterious incidents, which harmed its officers in Cuba, China and Russia, according to the New York Times. Dozens of intelligence officials and diplomats have experienced symptoms including headaches, memory loss and dizziness as part of a phenomenon that has become known as Havana syndrome. 

The Russian government urged France and Germany to exert their influence on the Ukrainian government and ensure that violent events in eastern Ukraine did not “cross a dangerous line,” reports Reuters. Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian government forces clashed recently, leading both governments to  accuse the other of violating the ceasefire agreement. 

After four days of hearings in Hong Kong, 47 pro-democracy activists, who were charged with conspiracy to commit subversion, were not granted bail according to the Washington Post. After the decision, Amnesty International Hong Kong stated “[n]one of them have committed a recognized crime, but they have fallen victim to a national security law that deems people a ‘threat' simply for the peaceful expression of political views.” Since the anti-government protests in 2019, Beijing has sought to end opposition sentiment and unrest. 

At least 19 police officers from Myanmar have sought refuge in India, fearing persecution for disobeying orders given by the ruling military junta, writes Reuters. More police officers are expected to cross the border, and this is the first reported instance of police fleeing the country. Since the military ousted the civilian government on Feb. 1, over 50 Myanmar civilians have been killed by the police and soldiers, including the 38 killed on Wednesday. 

The United Nations high commissioner for human rights called for an independent investigation into human rights violations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region after reports of “sexual and gender-based violence, extrajudicial killings, widespread destruction and looting of public and private property,” reports CNN. “A preliminary analysis of the information received indicates that serious violations of international law, possibly amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity may have been committed,” stated Michelle Bachelet’s office. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, a no bull edition of FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection.  

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security, the “Did I Say ‘Pariah’” edition. 

Victoria Gallegos shared a livestream of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee joint hearing on their ongoing investigation on the Jan. 6 attack. 

Gallegos also shared a livestream of a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the fiscal 2022 Capitol Police budget request, featuring testimony from Yogananda Pittman, the acting Capitol Police chief. 

Sarah Libowsky and Krista Oehlke reviewed President Biden’s immigration executive actions. 

Bill Priestap and Holden Triplett examined an assortment of illicit tactics used by foreign intelligence services. 

Julia Spiegel argued that the Biden administration should embrace foreign affairs federalism. 

Jacob Schulz analyzed the recent conviction of the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. 

Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast, in which they discuss the recent airstrike in Syria, an update on high-value Islamic State detainees and other topics. 

Lester Munson shared an episode of Fault Lines, featuring an interview with Nicole Perlroth, a cybersecurity reporter for the New York Times, about her book “This is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race.” 

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