The Early Edition: June 16, 2016

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

IRAQ and SYRIA

The UN’s Council of Inquiry on Syria says the Islamic State is committing genocide and other war crimes against the Yazidi community in Iraq and Syria. The newly released report also indicates the terror group is holding 3,200 Yazidi women and children, some of whom have been sold as slaves to Islamic State fighters. [Associated Press]

A top Kurdish official has argued that Iraq should be divided into three separate entities with states established for Shi’ite Muslims, Sunnis, and Kurds. The hope is that the arrangement would prevent further sectarian bloodshed after the Islamic State is defeated. [Reuters]

The Iraqi military has secured control of Nasr, a town 35 miles south of Mosul, after nearly three months of fighting. Brig. Gen. Badr Ahmed al-Luhaibi, the head of the Iraqi brigade that mounted the attack, was killed during the campaign. [Washington Post’s Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim]

Hundreds of fighting-age Sunni men have gone missing after fleeing the Islamic State-held city of Fallujah, giving rise to allegations that Iraqi militias are involved in their forced disappearances. [Wall Street Journal’s Tamer El-Ghobashy and Ali A. Nabhan]

A 48-hour cessation of hostilities has been declared in Aleppo, an actively contested city in northern Syria, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. [Associated Press

US-led airstrikes continue. US and coalition forces carried out six airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on June 15. Separately, partner forces conducted 20 strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

TORTURE DOCUMENTS

The CIA has released transcripts of military hearings in which Abu Zubaydah provided testimony about his torture in CIA blacksite prisons. While many of the details were previously known, the transcripts provide a first-person account to the growing historical record about the CIA’s treatment of detainees during the years following 9/11. [New York Times’ Charlie Savage]

The newly released CIA documents also contain guidelines from CIA medical staff on how to conduct “enhanced interrogations.” The documents contain descriptions of what the staff considered to be medically acceptable procedures for techniques including prolonged stress positions, severe dietary restrictions, and waterboarding. [The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman]

CYBERSECURITY and TECHNOLOGY

A spokesman for Vladimir Putin has denied Russian government involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee, and has implied that the hack was likely the result of a lost or weak password. [Washington Post’s Andrew Roth]

The father of a Paris massacre victim is suing Google, Facebook, and Twitter, claiming the companies provided “material support” to the Islamic State in violation of the law. [Associated Press]

There is a growing community of Internet activists in China who are working to circumvent the “Great Firewall.” While China has historically tolerated some workarounds, the people who design the systems that allow circumvention may become government targets at any time, writes Simon Denyer. [Washington Post]

EUROPE

Belgian and French police have been warned about “imminent” potential attacks in the countries. Local media are reporting that a terror alert issued yesterday indicates a group of “combatants” left Syria intending to carry out attacks in France and Belgium. [Washington Post’s Michael Birnbaum]

Larossi Abballa was under surveillance as a result of his ties to terror networks before he attacked and killed a French police captain and the captain’s partner. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has defended France’s intelligence services, saying there was no indication Abballa was preparing to commit any violence. [The Guardian’s Angelique Chrisasfis]

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in London for allegedly encouraging terrorism through the use of social media. [The Guardian’s Vikram Dodd]

IRAN

Iran is suing the United States in the International Court of Justice. Iran is accusing the US of violating the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights by freezing nearly $2 billion of its assets. The case comes close on the heels of a US Supreme Court decision giving victims of alleged Iran-linked terror attacks the right to collect on the assets frozen in the US. [Wall Street Journal’s Asa Fitch and Aresu Eqbali]

Iran has announced that it has reached a deal with Boeing to purchase up to 100 airplanes to modernize its air fleet. Boeing has said that the final details of the deal will be contingent on US government approval. [The Guardian’s Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Sam Thielman]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) filibustered the Senate for nearly 15 hours yesterday, demanding votes on gun control measures in the wake of last weekend’s attack in Orlando. He yielded the floor just after 2am on Thursday, having secured commitments from Republican leaders to hold votes on measures to expand background checks and ban gun sales to suspected terrorists. [Associated Press]

The Islamic State is working to send operatives to the West to engage in “guerilla-style” attacks, according to written testimony from CIA Director John Brennan that was prepared for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing scheduled for today. [Associated Press]

The Taliban is using child sex slaves to mount attacks on police in southern Afghanistan, according to reporting by Anuj Chopra. The Taliban is increasingly using young boys to get past checkpoints to kill police commanders in Uruzgan province. [AFP]

Muslim-Americans have repeatedly alerted the FBI to fellow Muslims they fear might be turning to extremism, according to law enforcement officials, directly contradicting a claim by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump earlier this week. [Reuters]

Wreckage of the EgyptAir flight that went missing over the Mediterranean last month has been found, Egyptian investigators say. A deep ocean vessel has identified several main locations of the wreckage, but it is unclear whether the planes’ black boxes are nearby. [Reuters]

Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 people in the Oromia region during recent anti-government demonstrations, according to Human Rights Watch. The government admits that protesters have died, but disputes that the total is that high. [BBC] 

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About the Author(s)

Megan Graham

Former Assistant Managing Editor and Security, Privacy, and Technology Fellow at Just Security Follow her on Twitter (@meganmcgraham).