Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Tia Sewell
Monday, March 1, 2021, 2:28 PM

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At least 18 people were killed in Myanmar yesterday as the state’s security forces began their bloodiest crackdown on protesters since the coup occurred on Feb. 1, reports the Wall Street Journal. The protests—which seek to reverse the military-led coup and restore the country’s democratically elected leadership—have been ongoing for more than three weeks. This weekend’s casualties could mark an inflection point in the demonstrations, as the police’s recent violent action could be an indication that the military is increasingly willing to use deadly force against civilians despite international condemnation.

As police crack down on protests, a Myanmar court has filed two additional charges against the country’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, according to Reuters. The next hearing is set to take place on March 15.

The Iranian government has rejected a European invitation to re-engage in diplomatic talks concerning Iran’s nuclear program, saying that the “time isn’t ripe” for such a meeting, writes the Associated Press. While a senior administration official noted that the White House was “disappointed” with Tehran’s decision, the official affirmed that the U.S. remains open to meeting to discuss re-entering into an agreement similar to the Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Merrick Garland’s nomination to serve as Biden’s attorney general in a 15-7 vote, according to NBC News. During his confirmation hearing, Garland stressed that he would protect the Justice Department from White House politicization and affirmed his commitment to prosecute white supremacists and others who participated in the Jan. 6 attack.

Former President Donald Trump delivered remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday, using the platform to call for the electoral defeat of each Republican who had supported his second impeachment, reports the New York Times. Trump also veered off script for the last 30 minutes of his speech, during which he reiterated his false claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

A Times investigation details how pro-Trump forces pushed the fictitious narrative that left-wing agitators, specifically Antifa, were responsible for the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol.

A Paris court has convicted former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on charges of influence-peddling and corruption, writes the Journal. The court sentenced Sarkozy to three years for trying to bribe a magistrate—suspending two years of the prison sentence and adding that the former president should serve the remaining year under house arrest.

Gab, a social media platform favored by the far right, announced yesterday that the site suffered a security breach, according to NBC News. Distributed Denial of Secrets, a self-described transparency collective, posted a statement today claiming that it had acquired a trove of Gab files including “over 70,000 messages in more than 19,000 chats, by 15,000 users, in plaintext format.” Due to the sensitive nature of the user information, the post notes that the dataset—which it calls “Gableaks”—is being released on a limited basis to “groups or individuals with a proven track record of doing research in the public interest.”

ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

Raphael S. Cohen explained how the proposed U.S. sale of F-35 aircraft and weapons to the UAE reveals a deeper problem relating to America’s reliance on allies—particularly its less ideal partners—to “do their fair share.”

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Tia Sewell is a former associate editor of Lawfare. She studied international relations and economics at Stanford University and is now a master’s student in international security at Sciences Po in Paris.

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