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Polina Ivanova on Russia's New Line

Polina Ivanova is a Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times, and has spent the better part of the last decade reporting from Russia for that publication, for Reuters and elsewhere. She joined Benjamin Wittes to talk through the Russian military press conference that took place on Friday in which the Ministry of Defense seemed to walk back Russia's war aims in the Ukraine conflict. Ben and Polina talked about what the Ministry of Defense said, how different or similar it is from previous Russian statements about what this war is about, whether it was intended for international or domestic consumption, or maybe both, and whether it provides a plausible basis for resolution of the conflict. 

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7/2/2022

Chatter: Secret Service Dilemmas and Training with Jon Wackrow

Chatter, a podcast from Lawfare, features weekly long-form conversations with fascinating people at the creative edges of national security. This week on Chatter, David Priess talked with former U.S. Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow to discuss the inherent dilemmas that come along with the job. One of them can arise if agents become partisan actors or allow themselves to even be perceived as such. We heard another one described in shocking terms during this week's testimony before the Jan. 6 committee: A protectee and the agents protecting him or her can disagree with the protectee about the latter's presence in a threatening situation or movement toward it.It turns out a whole lot of training prepares agents for these contingencies--as well as more predictable ones like how to respond instantaneously to myriad threats. Many lessons emerge from the study of past service failures, up to and including presidential assassinations and attempts. And some others can shed light elsewhere, such as on personal security and safety of institutions from schools to churches.Jonathan is now the COO and Global Head of Security for Teneo Risk and a law enforcement analyst for CNN. He and David have a deep and wide discussion about how cable news networks cover tragedy, the challenges of providing insight on security incidents in real time, his path into the Secret Service, how agents are trained, the lessons learned from historical failures of presidential protection, his own experiences with security breaches during the Obama administration, the dangers of perceived or actual politicization in the service, the balance between protecting a president and allowing a president's desired movements, agents' duty to testify in criminal investigations involving their protectees, how Secret Service experiences can help other institutions during an era of rising political violence, the benefits and drawbacks of school active shooter drills, and more.Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited byCara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.Among the works discussed in this episode:The movie The BodyguardThe movie In the LIne of FireThe book Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service by Carol LeonnigThe book The Devil Never Sleeps: Learning to Live in an Age of Disasters by Juliette Kayyem
7/1/2022

Memorializing Babyn Yar after the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

When a Russian missile recently struck a TV tower in Kyiv, near Babyn Yar, the site of Nazi mass murders during the Holocaust, some saw the attack as a potent symbol of the tragic occurrence of violence in Ukraine. To talk through the historical significance of the attack, Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Maksym Rokmaniko, an architect, designer, entrepreneur, and director at the Center for Spatial Technologies in Kyiv, and Linda Kinstler, a PhD candidate in the rhetoric department at UC Berkeley.In her recent New York times essay, the Bloody Echoes of Babyn Yar, Lindawrote, "the current war in Ukraine is so oversaturated with historical meaning, it is unfolding on soil that has absorbed wave after wave of the dead, where soldiers do not always have to dig trenches in the forest because the old ones remain."Linda's writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic and Jewish Currents, where she recently reported on the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial center. Linda is also the author of Come to This Court and Cry: How the Holocaust Ends, which is out in the U.S. on August 23rd, from Public Affairs.Tyler, Linda and Maksym discuss the history of Babyn Yar as a sight and symbol, the role of open source investigative techniques and forensic modeling in the documentation of war crimes, the battle over historical narratives, memorialization and memory, as well as the limits of the law in achieving justice for victims of negation and genocide.