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Transnational Repression: A High-Tech Turn in a Violent Tradition

February 11, 2021

Episode Notes:

From Leon Trotsky to Jamal Khashoggi, there is a long history of authoritarian governments violently targeting dissidents abroad. But, as Freedom House warns in a report published last week, recent technological and geopolitical changes have made these efforts easier than ever. The report, entitled “Out of Sight, Not Out of Reach,” draws attention to the alarming rise of “transnational repression.” It shows how governments work to "silence dissent among diasporas and exiles, using assassinations, illegal deportations, abductions, digital threats, Interpol abuse, and family intimidation."


Nate Schenkkan is the director of research strategy at Freedom House and co-author of this report. He joins us now on the Warcast to discuss the risks of transnational repression and the way democracies can respond to it.


[ 01:09 ] What is transnational repression and why are these practices getting worse?

[ 03:44 ] How has technology facilitated physical violence against dissidents?

[ 06:22 ]  Why is this seen as both a human rights issue and a national security issue?

[ 08:00 ] What can the Biden administration do to combat this?

[ 10:08 ] There’s been a lot of discussion of how the Biden administration might respond to Saudi Arabia's role in the Khashoggi killing. How far do you think the administration might go?

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