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Gorsuch appears skeptical of FBI’s state secrets defense in Muslim discrimination case

The case could mark a big turning point in the government’s power grab in the ‘war on terror.’

Reporting | Global Crises

The Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments on whether to proceed with a case that involves Muslim Americans claiming the FBI illegally surveilled them based on their relegious beliefs, while the government alleges that allowing it to move forward would divulge information that would harm U.S. national security. 

A lower court previously dismissed the case on those grounds, but in 2019 a federal appeals court reversed that decision, saying that the judge should have been able to review the information the FBI says will be harmful if released. 

Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by President Trump, appeared to be sympathetic to the plaintiffs’ case. He said the government’s position is that “we’re entitled to use that evidence in our possession without telling you anything about it as a basis for dismissing the suit more or less as a matter of routine.”

He said the government’s claim that it doesn’t have to choose between keeping secrets and defending itself is “quite a power,” particularly “in a world in which the national security state is growing larger every day.”

A government lawyer told the Court on Monday that the case should be dismissed “because the information concerning the reasons, the subjects, the sources and methods of this foreign intelligence investigation was so central to the case.” 

The plaintiffs’ attorney, meanwhile, said the case could go forward without the secret evidence and can instead rely on public information. 

Photo: davidsmith520 via shutterstock.com
Reporting | Global Crises
Inauguration of Taiwan’s new president triggers usual pearl-clutching

Taiwan's former President Tsai Ing-wen and new President Lai Ching-te wave to people during the inauguration ceremony outside the Presidential office building in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2024. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Inauguration of Taiwan’s new president triggers usual pearl-clutching

QiOSK

The inauguration of Taiwan’s new President Lai Ching-te this week has spurred a new push for Washington to “get serious” about Taiwan by beefing up measures to discourage a Chinese invasion of the island.

A recent essay in Foreign Policy magazine by Raymond Kuo, Michael Hunzeker, and Mark Christopher is emblematic of how many in Washington approach Taiwan policy — with a deterrence-heavy strategy that actually risks bringing about the very Taiwan crisis they seek to prevent.

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Diplomacy Watch: Ukraine pushes for direct NATO involvement in war

Diplomacy Watch: Ukraine pushes for direct NATO involvement in war

QiOSK

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky chided NATO states this week for their unwillingness to directly join the fight against Russia.

“What’s the issue with involving NATO countries in the war? There is no such issue,” Zelensky told the New York Times in a fiery interview. Western planes could simply “shoot down what’s in the sky over Ukraine” without leaving NATO territory, he argued, thus mitigating escalation risks.

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Kenyan police to arrive in Haiti amid 'logistical nightmare'
UN peacekeepers train for mission in Haiti, April, 2015 (Editorial credit: Photocarioca / Shutterstock.com)

Kenyan police to arrive in Haiti amid 'logistical nightmare'

North America

Kenyan troops are expected to touch down in Port-au-Prince today, marking the start of a much-anticipated peacekeeping mission. Their arrival coincides with that of Kenyan President Willian Ruto in Washington, whose official state visit to the U.S., meant to strengthen bilateral ties between the U.S. and Kenya, continues today.

The deployment of Kenyan troops aims to alleviate the escalating crisis that has gripped Haiti since the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse in 2023. In the wake of Moïse’s death, gangs have thrived in the ensuing political power vacuum, prompting acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign in April and agree to the establishment of a transitional government brokered by foreign states, including the U.S.

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