Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Victoria Gallegos
Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 2:33 PM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion

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The eighth day of the murder trial of Derek Chauvin began with testimony from an outside expert, Sergeant Jody Stiger of the L.A. police department, about police training and use of force, reports the New York Times. Stiger testified Chauvin had used “deadly force,” and had put George Floyd at risk of positional asphyxia, or loss of oxygen, which the prosecutors argue was Floyd’s cause of death. Stiger also stated that Chauvin had used a “pain compliance” technique on Floyd, but had not given Floyd an opportunity to comply.

Microsoft and U.S. officials are working to understand how a network of Chinese hackers carried out the Microsoft Exchange hack in an unusually far-reaching way, writes the Wall Street Journal. The leading theory is that the suspected hackers mined personal information before carrying out the attack, and if confirmed to be true, would suggest the hackers had greater sophistication and planning than currently believed. Other plausible theories say the hackers scanned social-media sites for email accounts, or that the hackers were, in the words of the Journal, “simply lucky.”

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu accused China of “vaccine diplomacy” in Paraguay, reports the BBC. Paraguay is one of only a few countries who recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation that had been promised vaccine doses from China; Wu said the “Chinese government was very active in saying if the Paraguay government is willing to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan, they will be able to get quite a few million vaccine doses from China.”

Amnesty International said the Russian government may be placing jailed opposition-leader Alexei Navalny in a “situation of a slow death” and is also “seeking to hide what is happening to him,” writes Reuters. “[Russian authorities] have already attempted to kill him, they are now detaining him, and imposing prison conditions, that amount to torture,” said Amnesty International’s secretary general Agnes Callamard.

The Biden administration will partially restore assistance to Palestine that was cut off by President Trump, via an aid package equating $150 million, according to Reuters. The administration plans to work towards reopening the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington D.C., and wants to make negotiation of a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestinian conflict a U.S. policy priority.

An Iranian ship believed to be used for intelligence collection by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, called the Saviz, was attacked in the Red Sea yesterday, writes the Wall Street Journal. It is not known who attacked the Saviz yet, although a Journal report from last month notes that Israel has been targeting ships carrying fuel and arms from Iran and Syria for the past year and a half. The Pentagon confirmed no U.S. forces were involved.

The New York Times reported on the Islamic State’s new lifeline found in African militant groups. These new alliances have increased profiles, funding and recruitment on both sides. Many homegrown insurgencies in Africa have a loose connection to ISIS, but Islamist extremist violence on the African continent reached a record high in 2020. Just last week, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a deadly attack in Mozambique which forced tens of thousands to flee and killed dozens.

Myanmar troops opened fire on anti-coup protesters, killing 13 and wounding several others today, writes Reuters. More than 580 have been killed since the Feb. 1 military coup.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Benjamin Wittes spoke with Natan Sachs, a Brookings senior fellow and the head of the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy, about the Israeli governance crisis.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk, featuring a discussion with Yuka Koshino, research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Akira Igata, executive director at the Tama University-affiliated Center for Rule-making Strategy, about Japan’s China challenge.

Daniel Milton analyzed recently released documents about the new leader of the Islamic State.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast, featuring conversation about the PCLOB’s report on Executive Order 12,333, the government's decision to close Camp 7 at Guantanamo Bay and more national security law topics.

Tia Sewell shared the Biden administration’s unclassified sections of its annual report on the legal and policy frameworks for U.S. use of military force and related national security operations.

Sam Cohen and Alex Vivona analyzed the latest water wars news, including Chinese pressure on Taiwan and tensions between China and the Philippines.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with Kim Zetter, journalist and author on cybersecurity and national security matters, about the domestic “gap” in cybersecurity surveillance at the National Security Agency and Cyber Command.

Alex Joel argued that President Biden should enhance privacy safeguards through an executive order.

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Victoria Gallegos is a senior at the University of Mississippi, studying international studies and Spanish. She is an intern at Lawfare.

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