Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Thursday, May 26, 2022, 3:20 PM

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The United States, United Kingdom and European Union created a group to help assist Ukraine with war crimes investigations, reports the Washington Post. The Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group is intended to aid Ukrainian authorities with investigating and prosecuting potential war crimes committed by the Russian military against Ukrainians. Members of the group—including war crimes prosecutors and forensic specialists—will work with Ukrainian authorities to collect and preserve evidence of atrocities committed, and also will draft indictments against Russian soldiers, among other tasks. 

The United States has issued sanctions on Russian individuals and companies accused of helping the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force, writes the Wall Street Journal. The Biden administration believes that the Russian government helped the Iranian military unit—which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist group—sell millions of dollars worth of oil to various countries. The United States sanctioned companies such as Russia-based RPP Ltd. which allegedly sold and transported Russian oil, and served as a liaison for the Russian government to transfer money to Iran. 

Israel has allegedly told the U.S. that it is responsible for the killing of a colonel in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), according to the New York Times. Col. Sayad Kohadayee was shot and killed outside of his home in Tehran on Sunday by two gunmen on motorcycles. In a speech, IRGC officials said that the killing was “definitely the work of Israel” and vowed to seek revenge against those responsible for the colonel’s death. After the attack, a spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister declined to comment on the accusations. Despite Israel’s public silence on the matter, a U.S. intelligence official reported that Israel has confirmed to American officials that it was responsible for the attack. 

Gambia plans to prosecute its former president for murder, reports the New York Times. Yahya Jammeh was president of Gambia from 1996 to 2017 and reportedly “terrorized’ the citizens of his nation during his presidency. The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission was created by the Gambian government after Jammeh was out of power to investigate alleged human rights violations committed by the former administration. The commission recorded and publicly streamed the testimonies of victims and confessions of alleged perpetrators. Witnesses include members of the former president’s “jungler” hit squad, as well as a woman who accused Jammeh of raping her when she was 18 after winning a national talent contest. In response to the commission’s findings, the Gambian Minister of Justice Dawfa Jallow announced that the government would move to prosecute the former president. 

A New York appeals court ordered that former President Donald Trump and two of his children—Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.—must sit for depositions in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s civil investigation into the Trump Organization, writes CNN. James is investigating the business practices of the Trump Organization after her office reportedly found “significant” evidence that the organization misrepresented its asset valuations in financial statements to obtain loans and benefits. The Trumps are also currently the subject of a criminal investigation conducted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The appeals court’s ruling finds the parallel criminal investigation does not “preclude civil discovery” in James’s investigation, and thus both investigations can move forward at the same time. 

Incumbent Brad Raffensperger won the Republican primary election for Georgia secretary of state against Trump-backed candidate Rep. Jody Hice, according to Politico. During the 2020 presidential election, Raffensperger rejected Trump’s orders to “find” votes in Georgia to overturn the results of the election. After the election was certified, Trump issued attacks on Raffensperger for failing to obey his orders and consequently supported the incumbent’s challenger. On the campaign trail this year, Hice spread false claims that the election was stolen from Trump and stated that he would have refused to certify the election if he were Georgia’s secretary of state in 2020. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which David Priess sat down with Emanuel Örtengren, Minna Ålander and Henri Vanhanento talk about he history of Finnish and Swedish nonalignment, the shift in public and government opinion toward NATO in recent months, and both countries’ processes for applying to the alliance.

Rayhan Asat discussed Russia’s alleged genocide in Ukraine. 

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security in which they were joined by Shane Harris to talk about the week’s biggest national security news, including: the recent House public hearing on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, Biden’s statement confirming that the United States would defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression and more. 

Christian Ruhl argued that probabilistic forecasting is a powerful tool for anticipating global catastrophic risks. 

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