With Quartz, I looked into the trio of Kansas domestic terrorists, sifting through their political preferences and their plans to unleash violence around Election Day:
Allen—who had been requesting that people compile a “list” of local Muslims to make a future “response much more timely”—noted in May 2016 that he’s a Trump supporter, while Stein posted a pro-Trump meme earlier this month, lumped among his pro-Confederacy comments, fake Founding Father quotes, and threats to kill UN peacekeepers. Wright, meanwhile, stuck to sharing Democrats-as-Hitler memes and posts putatively proving that US president Barack Obama was born in Kenya. ...
“[Trump’s campaign rhetoric] has played a huge role,” MacNab told me. Anti-government extremists “have always had to come up with excuses for why they’re going to do what they’re going to do. This campaign gives them respectability. The campaign says, ‘Oh, we’re not working in the shadows. We’re the heroes. We’re the patriots. We have a man who’s going to represent us in the office. And if he doesn’t win because he says the election is rigged, it’s going to be our duty to act on that.’”
And at The Diplomat, I pored through a new report on the role Kazakhstan - and Azerbaijan - played in the rise of modern kleptocracies:
But it’s not simply that Nazarbayev’s regime has taken full advantage of the shadow-financing proffered by the West. If anything, Nazarbayev has bought in fully to the “wealth defense industry” pushed by Western actors, including bankers and accountants, lobbyists and public relations experts. To wit, Tony Blair’s role as an official adviser to Nazarbayev, which has only now begun wrapping up, allowed Astana to ignore anti-corruption advice from the West, resting fully upon the hypocrisy attendant in Blair’s presence in Kazakhstan. This comes in addition to the PR machine Kazakhstan has unleashed on both sides of the Atlantic, with Western firms eager to take Astana’s excess hydrocarbon funds to whitewash the country’s Soviet-era leadership.
To be sure, while Nazarbayev stands as an exemplar of the expansive dictatorships taking advantage of Western financial and lobbying networks, Kazakhstan is but one of numerous autocracies detailed in the recent report. China, for instance, has seen its relationship with the West “warped by the dynamics of this shadow system,” Judah writes. “China is bleeding billions in illegally transferred funds… Today some $1 trillion dollars leaves China annually.” Meanwhile, the “most extreme and successful case of kleptocratic takeover to date was undertaken by Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, the head of a dictatorship that has ruled the country since 2003.” And according to one researcher — in one of the most remarkable stats throughout the entire report — more than half of Russia’s wealth remains squirreled offshore.