There is something very wrong with the Russian hacking story

Bronson Kaahui Blog, International Relations

In an interview in  2015, Colin Powell said about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, “The intelligence community, all 16 agencies assured us that it was right, my speech at the UN was based on that information.” In hindsight, it seems obvious that the “evidence” for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was always flimsy, but that ignores the incredibly emotionally charged political climate at the time. “Evidence” that should have been met with skepticism, or at a minimum, rational scrutiny from journalists, was instead parroted by every major publication in the country. Reporters simply repeated whatever the Bush administration had to say on the matter without bothering to validate any of these claims. Of course, Cheney and his gang of thugs never actually said that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11 or had ties to Al Qaeda, they were just sure to mention all 3 in every speech and, coincidentally, a majority of Americans believed that we were invading Iraq because of Saddam’s role in 9/11. In other words, “anonymous officials,” insinuations, circumstantial and highly ambiguous “evidence” were used to convince millions of people to go to war with a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the September 11th attacks. And now, just as then, the media is all too eager to report these insinuations and unverified reports of Russia “hacking the election.” 52% of Democratic voters believe that Russia “hacked” the voting machines despite the fact that zero evidence exists to support this belief, and neither President Obama nor the intelligence community ever stated this. Does any of this sound familiar? The “intelligence community” has, for unexplained reasons, become a sacrosanct institution in the media, above reproach or question. “Journalists” seem incredulous that Trump (or anyone for that matter) would even dare to express skepticism over the conclusions of …

Eliminate the Borders

Pat Brock International Relations

The following excerpt is in response to an anonymous advocate of closed borders. Pat Brock writes in response: I would not support closing borders. I advocate eliminating them. Isolation will not fix this problem. The people of the middle east are not genetically significantly different from anyone else. Most significantly they differ by culture & experience. This is because they have been historically isolated by vast deserts. In the age of jet travel & the internet, this isolation is no longer necessary. The peoples of the Soviet Union were once artificially isolated. Once the Soviets learned about all the wonderful things that were going on in the rest of the world, they wanted to be part of it & the ‘iron curtain’ came down. The ‘terrorism’ problem will never go away. There will always be deranged, disgruntled, & alienated people in the world who will resort to violence as a remedy for their perceived frustrations. The alienation part is a thing we can do something about. People with these frustrations can be created anywhere. We have seen them in Norway, China, & Oklahoma City. What would be the next step? Should America close state borders? Should we set up check points on the highways between cities? We have to get over this fear of others. It is not only a colossal waste resources, it degrades the joy we might feel in our all-to-brief lives. You have a statistically greater chance of dying from slipping in the bathtub than dying from a terrorist attack, not to mention the profound risk you accept in just driving a car to the market. As I previously stated, there will always be destructive individuals, but they are diminishing as a percentage of the population. Many studies have substantiated that we now live in the safest …

Update on Crisis in Nepal

robinsitoula International Relations

Barely six months since the devastating earthquake in April, another major crisis has hit Nepal. The economy is in ruins as the existence of millions of productive enterprises is thwarted in light of acute fuel scarcity and shortage of basic goods such as cooking gas, food, and medicine. If this continues for another month, Nepal might be facing a severe humanitarian crisis. In response to the new constitution that was promulgated about a month ago, political groups in Nepal’s southern belt called Terai have been protesting for about two months now, which has claimed at least 40 lives. The protests are mainly regarding the demarcation of state boundaries and political representation of the people of Terai in a new Federal Nepal. Intensifying their protests at the end of last month, agitating groups decided to cut off supplies to the capital by blocking the highways and custom points from where goods enter the country and eventually Kathmandu Valley. The crisis took a more severe shape when India got onboard with the agitating groups and imposed an unofficial economic blockade a month ago. Nepal is almost entirely dependent on imports from India for all basic things. It is not only Nepal’s largest trading partner and the sole supplier of oil and cooking gas to the state owned monopoly importer Nepal Oil Corporation but also the point of access for almost all imports to a landlocked Nepal. Denying publicly that this is an economic blockade, India has technically maintained the custom clearance at the border points on paper saying it will send the goods over once the protests cease and security is better. Thus, fuel has become a luxury and soon food might too. Homes, offices, hotels and restaurants have run out of cooking gas in the past month. Nepalese were supposed to be celebrating their biggest Hindu …

Meeting the Cheetah Generation

kenli Africa, Conferences, Economic Policy, Education, International Relations

“Music is Freedom” declared the lead singer of H_ART the Band—as they opened up the first East African Students for Liberty Regional Conference at the Catholic University in Nairobi, Kenya—welcoming in the 476 students who came from across the continent to learn more about liberty and student activism. The students came from countries such as Tanzania, Nigeria, Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda, and even war torn South Sudan, eager to meet their Kenyan counterparts and learn how to expand the freedom movement across Africa. Starting off strong, the talks commenced with the subject of entrepreneurship, with Mike Rotich of the East Africa Policy Centre and David Muumbi of the Kenya Youth Business Trust elaborating on how entrepreneurship can pave a stronger future for Africa and how the students could pursue entrepreneurship in their own lives. This was followed by an open mic session where students already engaged in entrepreneurship were invited to share their experiences and to suggest what would be the most important political or social change to help entrepreneurs on the continent. Over a dozen students eagerly told their stories, concluding with statements that what Africa needed most was “free trade” or “an end to corruption”. In fact, there were so many in the audience that were already involved in businesses of their own that they had to limit the number that came up to speak. Apparently the students didn’t need to be told to become entrepreneurs, they were already taking action on their own! Indeed, entrepreneurship was the predominant theme throughout the conference. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard a single word said so many times in a single day before. Thus it was no surprise that the star speaker at the event was the multi-millionaire legendary Kenyan industrialist Manu Chandaria, who challenged the students to reach their …

Uzbekistan: How I broke 3 laws in less than 24 hours

aigulkubatbekova Asia, Civil Liberties, International Relations

On the 27th of April my friend and I got on a bus in Bishkek to take us to Chymkent (a city in Kazakhstan, 10 min of drive from the Kazakh and Uzbek border) It was late in the evening so we were both really tired, and fell asleep quite quickly. When we woke up in the morning we were both really excited so very soon we started talking with other passengers. A couple of minutes later one of them asked where we were from, to which we replied that we were from Kyrgyzstan. All of a sudden half of the passengers on the bus looked at us and said: “There is no way you are going to cross the Uzbek border! Kyrgyz citizens are not allowed to cross the border on foot.” We were shocked, but all we could do was hope for the best. A couple of hours later we arrived to Chymkent, took a taxi to get to the Kazakh-Uzbek border, which was crowded with lines of people eager to cross. We crossed the Kazakh border without issue and made our way to the Uzbek border where a soldier was awaiting us. As soon as we showed him our Kyrgyz passports he looked at us with a concern and he immediately called over another soldier. Once the other soldier arrived he showed him our passports, and the other soldier looked at us with even more concern. He told us to go back, because there was no way for us to cross the border. We tried to explain our situation to them and why we needed to cross the border. My friend had a TOEFL test scheduled in Tashkent for the next day, so she had a reasonable excuse. I had no official reason to cross the border, …

The Mariel Boatlift: Voting With Boats

kenschoolland International Relations, Migration, North America, Poverty

It is said that freedom always wins when people are allowed to vote with their feet…they move from locations of high tyranny to places of relative freedom—always in very great numbers. 34 years ago today, on April 20, 1980, Fidel Castro announced that any Cubans who wanted to leave could do so without punishment from the port town of Mariel. In the clearest possible expression of their hatred of Castro’s rule, Cubans voted by boat. More than a hundred thousand took to rickety, makeshift vessels in what came to be known as the Mariel Boatlift. Americans in Miami grabbed whatever boats they could find to reunite with friends and relatives across the channel. Braving hurricane winds, exposure at sea, pirates and sharks, desperate refugees crowded aboard anything that floated, regardless of seaworthiness, because freedom seemed so worth it. At first the U.S. government of Jimmy Carter lived up to the ideals of the Statute of Liberty and embraced these refugees. The U.S. Coast Guard didn’t actually go to the port of Mariel to provide safe transportation for those eager to leave, but the U.S. armed services did a commendable job of rescuing many of those who became stranded on the high seas. After all, the U.S. had sanctioned Cuba for 20 years, condemning Castro’s regime for the brutality of his communist dictatorship, for the forced economic squalor and repression of free speech and civil liberties. The U.S. had even attempted to overthrow or assassinate Castro. So why wouldn’t Americans at least welcome those who tried to flee Cuba? Then the mood turned against refugees when it was rumored that Castro’s trick was to release “undesirables” from prisons and mental hospitals, sending them all to America. Jimmy Carter, in an election year, then agreed with Castro that they would both put …

Egypt Seeking a Path to Freedom

alimassoud Civil Liberties, Individual Rights, International Relations, Middle East

Dear My Americans, European, Japanese, French, and friends from all other nationalities, I am writing this post because by discussing what has been going on in Egypt, I found out that, unfortunately, the news does not tell the whole story regarding two issues. 1. The death penalty that was given to 529 members of Muslim Brotherhood. Regarding this issue, unfortunately the news only talks about the verdict, they do not talk about why these guys were convicted. So why were they convicted? Did you know that these guys killed fifteen policemen and 44 other Egyptians? Did you know that these guys burnt down eight churches and four mosques. Did you know that these guys badly injured more than 400 Egyptians? Did you know that these guys belong to a group that has been the source of all the radical Muslims in the world? If the USA and UK waged war in Iraq just to be sure that their oil sources were secured, do we Egyptians not have the right to make sure that our lives are secure? If you have a very well organized group that has hundreds of thousands of members that are very determined to rule you or kill you, what would your opinion be then? As an Egyptian that loves his country, I believe that people who do that do not deserve to live among us. If you think that these guys are defending their rights in power, do not forget that when young Egyptian people went in to the streets to send the message that the leadership’s way of running the country is against democracy and freedom, they killed many of them. Just few steps from the presidential palace. Moreover, a few hours later, Dr. Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt at that time, actually came …