Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Monday, October 25, 2021, 1:13 PM

As Sudan was preparing for a transition to civilian rule, military forces arrested Sudananese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and multiple government officials in an attempted-coup on Monday, according to CNN. Civilian and military leaders have been at odds since long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in 2019. As pro-democracy protesters flooded the streets, internet access was widely disrupted.

A civil trial will begin Monday to determine whether the organizers of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., conspired to engage in racially motivated violence, says the Washington Post. The lawsuit, filed by nine Charlottesville residents, uses a Reconstruction-era statute designed to protect newly emancipated Black people from violence by the Ku Klux Klan. The plaintiffs are attempting to use the statute against the hate groups that planned the rally. In addition to those who suffered physical injuries, plaintiffs say they suffered lasting emotional distress and trauma. The defendants said in court filings that their conduct was protected speech and that the day’s violence stemmed from poor planning from local police and counterprotesters who sought a direct confrontation with the marchers.

Leaked documents from inside Facebook show the social network was unprepared for the Stop the Steal movement, which culminated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, reports CNN. An internal Facebook analysis found that it had failed to police its platform adequately and prevent the “meteoric” growth of Stop the Steal. The website’s policies were built to root out “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” such as the networks of fake accounts set up to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. However, it has little scope around “[c]oordinated authentic harm,” such as people organizing under their real names to reject the election results.  The internal analysis was among the documents provided by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who alleged that the company “[m]isled investors and the public about its role perpetuating misinformation and violent extremism relating to the 2020 election and January 6th insurrection.”

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Monday that greenhouse gas concentrations reached a new record last year and the world is “way off track” of the goal of slowing rising global temperatures, according to NPR. Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide showed increases in 2020, the WMO said in the latest issue of its Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. WMO’s Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said the current rate of greenhouse gas concentrations will result in temperature increases “[f]ar in excess of the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 to 2C above pre-industrial levels.”

Israel designated six Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organizations on Friday, a move that critics believe will restrict the ability to challenge Israeli government activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, reports the New York Times. Benny Gantz, Israel’s defense minister, said the groups were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a leftist militant group that has carried out deadly attacks against Israelis. Shawan Jabarin, director of the prominent Palestinian rights group Al Haq, criticized the designation as a “[v]ery political decision” rather than a security one.

Mariano Grossi, the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, said that the program’s monitoring of Iran is no longer “intact” after Iran refused to repair cameras at a key facility, reports NBC News. Ever since hardliner Ebrahim Raisi was elected president in June, Grossi said he has had difficulty establishing direct communication with Iran’s government. Grossi believes the lack of access to the facility is concerning, pointing to the events in 2009 in which agency inspectors were kicked out of North Korea.

Moderna announced Monday its coronavirus vaccine is safe for children ages six through 11, according to CNBC. A study found that two, smaller doses of its vaccine generated a strong immune response in the children tested. Moderna plans to submit the results soon to the Food and Drug Administration and other health regulatory agencies.


ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

Elizabeth Grimm wrote about how the precise context of the sanctuary environment in Afghanistan for Al-Qaeda should inform U.S. policy response.

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.