Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Friday, October 29, 2021, 1:32 PM

A Guantanamo Bay prisoner who was interrogated and tortured at a CIA black site described his experience openly for the first time Thursday before a military jury, according to the New York Times. Majid Khan, a former courier for al-Qaeda, was subject to “enhanced interrogation techniques” that agents used to coerce information from suspected terrorists during his three years in CIA black sites. Khan spoke of being beaten, given forced enemas, sexually abused and waterboarded. He read from a 39-page statement that did not disclose the names of CIA agents or the countries and foreign intelligence agencies that played a role in his detention—information protected by the national security court. In February 2012, Khan pled guilty to terrorism charges. A panel of military officers is set to sentence Khan to between 25 to 40 years in prison, but under a secret deal, Khan’s sentence will be greatly reduced for his extensive cooperation with U.S. authorities. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that his company is rebranding itself as Meta, says the Wall Street Journal. Zuckerberg claimed the name change signals the company’s new focus on the online digital realm known as the metaverse, saying that “[t]he metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet.” Some critics believe the metaverse has been increasingly promoted in an attempt to shift media coverage away from the Facebook Files, which showed that the company knows of the alleged harm its services cause.

At least 11 civilians were killed in a missile attack carried out by Houthi rebels in Yemen’s Marib province, says AP News. The Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014, and have wanted to solidify their control over northern Yemen by capturing the oil-rich Marib for years. The Yemeni civil war has displaced around 170,000 people who lived in Marib and its surrounding province since the beginning of 2020.

The U.S., U.K. and a dozen European countries urged Israel on Thursday to stop plans to build 3,000 settlements on the West Bank, reports CNN. According to international law, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered occupied Palestinian territory, making these settlements illegel. The Israeli government disputes this assessment.

Faced with electricity shortages, the Chinese government has ordered the country’s coal mines to increase production, reports the New York Times. The goal is to produce 220 million metric tons a year of extra coal, a nearly  six percent increase in production compared to last year. President Xi Jinping reaffirmed his pledge Thursday that China’s emissions of greenhouse gases would peak by 2030 during a policy statement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. However, this new push to mine and burn more coal could increase China’s emissions and toxic air pollution, with coal being the world’s biggest cause of human-driven climate change.

A cheap and widely prescribed antidepressant pill known as fluvoxamine showed promise in reducing hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus, according to the Washington Post. A clinical trial that included about 1,500 people at 11 sites in Brazil found that when adults who were symptomatic with coronavirus received fluvoxamine, the drug made their symptoms less severe. The drug costs about $4 for a 10-day course, relatively less expensive than Merck’s $700-per-course coronavirus pill.

The state of Florida on Thursday sued the Biden administration over its employee vaccine requirement for federal contractors, arguing that the U.S. government does not have the authority to impose the order, reports CBS News. The lawsuit, announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis, alleges that the statute the Biden administration is using to enforce the mandate, the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, does not authorize a vaccine requirement.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic sat down with Jacob Frenkel to discuss the Facebook Papers and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s role in cases like these.

Brian Liu and Raquel Leslie wrote about export licenses and LinkedIn’s shut down in China in the most recent edition of Sinotech, Lawfare’s biweekly roundup of U.S.-China technology policy news.

Bryce Klehm announced this week’s Lawfare Live, where Mark Nevitt, Erin Sikorsky and Natalie Orpett will discuss the newly-released reports on climate change and national security.

Jacob T. Rob and Jacob N. Shapiro analyzed how the history of online influence operations may reveal ways to tackle disinformation.

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