Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Vishnu Kannan
Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 12:59 PM

A U.N. investigation has found the government of Saudi Arabia responsible for killing Jamal Khashoggi and recommends further investigation of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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A U.N. investigation has found the government of Saudi Arabia responsible for killing Jamal Khashoggi and recommends further investigation of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Wall Street Journal reports. While the report, which provides new, graphic details about the murder, does not find a “smoking gun” which implicated the crown prince himself, it concludes that he was certainly aware of a “criminal mission” against the journalist, the Washington Post writes. The U.N. investigator, Agnes Callamard, called on countries to invoke “universal jurisdiction” and make arrests of individuals proven to be responsible for what she called an “international crime,” according to Reuters.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prevented the State Department from adding Saudi Arabia to a U.S. list of countries that recruits child soldiers, Reuters reports. Pompeo’s decision followed a bitter internal debate and overruled the assessment from State Department experts that the Saudi-led coalition was recruiting child soldiers to help prosecute its war in Yemen. A spokesman for the coalition denied the charges.

Four men, three individuals with close ties to Russian military and intelligence and one Ukrainian separatist fighter, have been found responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 and have been charged in the Netherlands with murder, the New York Times reports. The trial is slated to begin on March 9, 2020, but none of the accused is expected to appear, as three are in Russia and the fourth is believed to be in the breakaway region of Ukraine.

Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi accused Western forces of using recent tensions over Hong Kong’s proposed extradition bill as part of an attempt to “destroy Hong Kong’s social fabric, according to Reuters.

Former White House communications director Hope Hicks appeared before the House Judiciary Committee in a closed-door session this morning as part of the committee’s investigation into the president. The White House sought to block her testimony, instructing her not to answer questions about her time in the administration and claiming that she is immune from compelled congressional testimony, the Hill writes.

The U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of expression recommends a moratorium on the sale and use of spyware until regulation is put in place to prevent misuse by governments, Reuters says.

Rep. Maxine Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, called on Facebook to pause its cryptocurrency project, POLITICO reports. There is concern about the company’s controversial use and protection of user data.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Herb Lin proposed a method for establishing liability for data breaches.

Lin also argued that U.S. Cyber Command’s infiltration of the Russian electric grid suggests that demonstration of an offensive cyber capability does not diminish its value as a future operational asset.

Ingrid Wuerth noted the surprisingly strong legal argument of protestors bringing civil suits against Turkey in response to violent attacks in May 2017 by Turkish security officials outside the ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C.

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Vishnu Kannan is special assistant to the president at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Previously he was a James C. Gaither Junior Fellow in Carnegie’s Technology and International Affairs Program, a researcher at Lawfare and the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and an intern at the Brookings Institution. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University where he studied International Relations, Political Theory and Economics.

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