Edward Snowden, NSA leaker, says U.S. should show evidence of …

Russia likely interfered in last years U.S presidential election, according to former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, but the American public deserves to see evidence of its involvement, he said in an interview published Wednesday.

Everybody is currently pointing at the Russians, Mr. Snowden, 33, told Germanys Der Spiegel. They probably did hack the systems of Hillary Clintons Democratic Party, but we should have proof of that.

The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence has concluded that Russia interfered in last years election race by using state-sponsored hackers and propagandists to target Mrs. Clintons campaign in an effort to hurt her odds of winning the White House.

Officials have blamed Kremlin-tied cybercriminals with security breaches suffered by the likes of the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clintons former campaign manager, John Podesta, among others.

But Mr. Snowden, a computer expert who previously worked for the National Security Agency and CIA, said the U.S. government isnt being forthcoming with respect to supporting its claims, especially when compared to another recent security breach attributed to state actors.

In the case of the hacking attack on Sony, the FBI presented evidence that North Korea was behind it. In this case they didnt, although I am convinced that they do have evidence. The question is why? Mr. Snowdenasked.

I think the NSA almost certainly saw who the intruders were. Why wouldnt they? But I am also convinced that they saw a lot of other attackers on there, too, Mr. Snowden added.

As many as six or seven separate actors may have infiltrated the DNC, Mr. Snowden suggested, calling it a big target with apparently lax security.

I think the reality here was the narrative shaping about the Russians, added Mr. Snowden, who received political asylum from Moscow in 2013 and currently lives in the region as a lawful permanent resident.

Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently agrees with Mr. Snowdens last point on account of previously labeling allegations of election hacking hysteria whipped up by Washington.

Does anyone seriously think Russia can somehow influence the choice of the U.S. people? Is the U.S. some kind of banana republic? Mr. Putin said last year. The United States is a great power. Please correct me if Im wrong.

Mr. Snowden admittedly leaked a trove of classified intelligence in 2013 concerning the NSA and its international surveillance operations. He was subsequently charged with violations of the U.S. Espionage Act and theft by the Justice Department, but has evaded prosecutions by residing in Russia ever since.

Russia was the only country willing to grant Mr. Snowden asylum, he told Der Spiegel.

I have been quite critical of the Russian government on Twitter and in my statements, and that probably doesnt win me any friends. They havent bothered me in the period until now, but who knows what that will look like in the future, he said.

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Edward Snowden, NSA leaker, says U.S. should show evidence of …

Harvard dean rescinds Chelsea Mannings visiting fellow …

Harvard University withdrew a fellowship invitation to Chelsea Manning after CIA Director Mike Pompeo distanced himself from the school. (Reuters)

Harvards Kennedy School of Government rescinded a visiting fellowshipofferedto Chelsea Manning,the former militaryintelligence analyst who spent seven years in prison forleaking classified government secrets, after the university faced forceful backlash from CIA Director Mike Pompeo among others.

I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility, Douglas W. Elmendorf, the schools dean, wrote in a 700-word statement released shortly after midnight Friday.

Manning wasone of fourvisiting fellows announced two days earlier by the Kennedy Schools Institute of Politics. As part of the program, visiting fellows appear on Harvards campus for speaking engagements and events,interacting with undergraduate students ontopical issues of today, the schools initial announcement explained.

Elmendorfdecided to withdrawthe invitation after realizing that many people view a Visiting Fellow title as an honorific, though the school had not intended to honor [Manning] in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds.

Sheis stillwelcome to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak at theschools John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, the deansaid.

I apologize to her and to the many concerned people from whom I have heard today for not recognizing upfront the full implications of our original invitation,Elmendorf added.

Mannings website generates an automatic response to media requestsandindicates shes not giving interviews.

On Twitter, however, she accused the school of suppressing marginalized voices and caving to pressure from the CIA.

The deans decision came only hours after Pompeowithdrew froma planned appearance at the Kennedy Schooland chastised the institution for calling attention to Manning. In a biting letter to the events organizers, Pompeo, who earned a law degree from Harvard, brandedManning an American traitor whose actions and ethos contradicted the intelligence agencys most basic and sacred values.

Harvards actions, Pompeo added, implicitly tell its students that you too can be a fellow at Harvard and a felon under United States law. I believe it is shameful for Harvard to place its stamp of approval upon her treasonous actions.

Pompeos blustery withdrawal from Thursdays event joined a chorus of denunciationfrom national security experts, military veterans and others.

Earlier Thursday, in a stern letter of his own, Michael Morell, a former CIA leader who spent more than three decades at the agency, resigned from HarvardsBelfer Center for Science and International Affairs.He had been a fellow theresinceSeptember 2013. The schools invitation to Manning, Morell said, all but endorsed her decision to break the law.

I have an obligation to my conscience and I believe to the country to stand up against any efforts to justify leaks of sensitive national security information, wrote Morell, 59, who twice served as the CIAs acting directorand retired in 2013 as the agencys second-in-command.

Pompeopraised Morells decision to resign,writing in his letter that Harvard traded a respected individual who served his country with dignity for one who served it with disgrace.

A former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Morell, resigned from a spot at Harvard Sept. 14 after the school offered a visiting fellowship to Chelsea Manning. (Reuters)

Manning, 29, is transgender.As an Army private first class named Bradley Manning, she was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 35 years in prison for providingthousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, which Pompeo and Morell characterized as an adversarial foreign intelligence service.

Supporters of the sites founder, Julian Assange, consider him a champion for transparencywhose public disclosures of sensitive information are in protest of government overreach.

On Thursday, Assange assailed Pompeos withdrawal from his Harvard appearance.

President Barack Obama commuted Mannings prison sentence before leaving office, and she was freed in May from themilitarys supermax prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Since then, Manning has been a prominent voice for LGBT rights and routinely writes about the social, technological and economic ramifications of Artificial Intelligence,as Harvards fellowship announcement noted.

Manninghas saida responsibility to the public compelled her to leak government secrets. Buther harshest criticsdescribe those actions as traitorous, having put deployed U.S. troops at risk. President Trump and lawmakers from both political parties have questioned Obamas decision to commute her prison sentence, which he called disproportionate when measured against the punishment meted out to other whistleblowers.

Like the Obama administration, Trumps White House has struggled to curtail informationleaks.National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster issued a memothis month to leaders throughout the federal government, imploring them to conduct an hour-long training session next week. Pompeo, in particular,has prioritized this matter, calling it a leading reasonfor his decision to have the agencys Counterintelligence Mission Center report directly to him.

[At CIA, a watchful eye on Mike Pompeo, the presidents ardent ally]

The Institute of Politics at Harvards Kennedy announced a broad range of visiting fellows for the 2017-2018 academic year, including Sean Spicer, President Trumps short-lived White House press secretary, and Corey Lewandowski, who was fired as Trumps campaign manager several months before the election.

Manning noted their participation shortly after Elmendorf, the dean, said he was withdrawing her invitation to serve as a visiting fellow.

In selecting Manning for a fellowship, Elmendorf said, Kennedy School officials felt they were keeping with the programs guiding objective, which is to expose students to individuals whose words or actions influence world events even if they do not share our values and even if their actions or words are abhorrent to some members of our community, he noted.

We do this not to endorse those actions or legitimize those words, but because engaging with people with fundamentally different worldviews can help us to become better public leaders, he wrote. Because controversy pervades many questions in politics and public policy, some speakers are controversial. While we do not shy away from that controversy, we insist that all speakers take questions, and these questions are often hard and challenging ones.

Hearing a very wide range of views, regardless of what members of our community think about the people offering those views, is fundamental to the learning process at the Kennedy School.

He added that I think we should weigh, for each potential visitor, what members of the Kennedy School community could learn from that persons visit against the extent to which that persons conduct fulfills the values of public service to which we aspire. This balance is not always easy to determine, and reasonable people can disagree about where to strike the balance for specific people. Any determination should start with the presumption that more speech is better than less.

In retrospect, though, I think my assessment of that balance for Chelsea Manning was wrong.

Harvard fellow and former congressman Jason Chaffetz said the deans decision to revoke Mannings invitation was the right call.

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who was in the same class offellows with Manning, expressed the same sentiment. Speaking on Fox News Fox and Friends Friday, he said that while there is a need for an open and honest discussion of ideas,it is quite another to take someone who has been a traitor to his country and invite them to be part of the process.

The schools initial announcement suggested Mannings advocacy on LGBT issues would be a focal point during her campus visit, and that discussions with students mightcenter onthe social challenges associated with being transgender in the military.

At Trumps direction, the Pentagon is studying how to implementhis ban on transgender men and women in the armed forces.In their letters, Pompeo and Morell specifically sought to distance themselves from any suggestion their decisions were motivated by Mannings choiceto become a woman or publicly discuss her crimes.

But it is my right, Morell added, indeed my duty, to argue that the Schools decision is wholly inappropriateand to protest it by resigning from the Kennedy School in order to make the point that leaking classified information is disgraceful and damaging to our nation.

This post has been updated.

Jim Mattis didnt undermine President Trumps transgender military ban. Trump already had.

Chelsea Manning doesnt look glamorous in Vogue. And thats great.

Chelsea Manning on leaking information: I have a responsibility to the public

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Harvard dean rescinds Chelsea Mannings visiting fellow …

With Chelsea Manning Invitation, Harvard Got a Discussion …

In inviting people from all ideologies, including some considered odious to the opposing side, Harvard had hoped to provoke discussion across party lines in a campus setting that would keep hyperpartisanship at bay.

Others on the visiting fellows roster include: Sean Spicer, President Trumps former press secretary; Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trumps former campaign manager; and, from the media world, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC.

But the ivory tower ideal of the campus as an arena for the free exchange of ideas one being challenged at colleges across the country exploded over the Manning episode. And Harvard is being attacked not only by conservative commentators but by the very government-media establishment that the Kennedy School depends on and has a revolving-door relationship with.

One of the classes offered here is called From Harvard Square to the Oval Office. The dean of the school, Douglas W. Elmendorf, is the former director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Many students here intend to run for elective office some day. Others, like Mr. Pershing, who went to the University of Notre Dame and served in the Peace Corps, are creating their own areas of specialty, in his case, a combination of national security and crisis management. Many politicians and other well-known figures end up at the Institute of Politics during a pause in their careers.

Kennedy School alumni and former Institute fellows include many marquee names: Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida and unsuccessful presidential candidate; Ed Rendell, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania; Raymond W. Kelly, the former New York City police commissioner; and Bill OReilly, who received a masters degree from the school before becoming a top-rated host on Fox News and then losing his job in a sexual harassment scandal.

The backlash to Ms. Mannings appointment began Wednesday morning, when a news release announced her fellowship.

It billed Ms. Manning, who was Pfc. Bradley Manning in the Army, as the first transgender fellow. The release went on to describe her as a former Army intelligence analyst and advocate for queer and transgender rights. Her conviction, for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, was mentioned at the end, almost parenthetically. She was released from prison this year after President Barack Obama, in his last days in office, commuted her 35-year prison sentence.

Harvard was inundated with complaints, many of them from the right. But the lid blew off on Thursday when Michael J. Morell, a deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Mr. Obama, resigned from his fellowship in protest, saying the invitation honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.

That was topped Thursday night by the current director of the C.I.A., Mike Pompeo, who did not show up at a scheduled Harvard forum and cited Ms. Mannings fellowship as the reason. Ms. Manning betrayed her country, Mr. Pompeo, who graduated from Harvard Law School, wrote to a Kennedy School official.

Just after midnight Friday, Mr. Elmendorf called Ms. Mannings team in California and said he was stripping her of the fellow title.

In an early-morning message posted on the schools website, Mr. Elmendorf said that while the university encouraged a diversity of opinions, naming Ms. Manning a fellow had been a mistake. Still, he said, he would allow her to spend a day at the school and speak at its forum.

In his lengthy and nuanced letter, Mr. Elmendorf focused on the honor that the title conferred on recipients.

I see more clearly now that many people view a visiting fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations, Mr. Elmendorf wrote. He said he had struck the wrong balance between the values of academic freedom and commitment to public service.

A spokesman for the school said that it would not comment beyond Mr. Elmendorfs letter.

Ms. Manning will lose a fee of about $1,000 for being a visiting fellow, according to sources familiar with the process. As a speaker, she would not be paid.

Ms. Manning responded publicly on Twitter early Friday, writing that she was honored to be disinvited. She said the institution was chilling marginalized voices under C.I.A. pressure.

In another tweet, she said: this is what a military/police/intel state looks like the @cia determines what is and is not taught @harvard.

The revocation of her appointment brought more firestorms, both lacerating criticism as well as kudos.

At an institution where we have so many classes on moral courage and leadership, in this instance, the dean did not exercise leadership or moral courage, said Pranav Reddy, 27, a student from Cleveland who has a medical degree and is pursuing a masters degree in public policy at the Kennedy School.

The institution is kowtowing to the powers that be, he said.

The Nation magazine ripped into Mr. Pompeo, saying he bullied Harvard into throwing Chelsea Manning to the curb.

At the same time, R. Nicholas Burns, a professor of the practice of diplomacy and international relations at the Kennedy School, and a former career foreign service officer who had high-ranking positions in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, said Mr. Elmendorf had struck the right balance. He said he had supported Hillary Clinton in the last election but believed that Ms. Manning had put foreign service diplomats, the overseas intelligence community and the military at risk by leaking documents.

Its not just conservatives who objected, Mr. Burns said.

A former longtime Republican aide on Capitol Hill, Mark Strand also characterized the invitation to Ms. Manning as a mistake. But Mr. Strand, now a resident fellow at the Institute, meaning he will spend much of the semester there, said he also believed it could become a teaching moment after all.

I think Dean Elmendorf showed a lot of courage by providing a full explanation and a thoughtful and genuine apology, Mr. Strand said. Thats unusual in politics and an important lesson for Harvard students.

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With Chelsea Manning Invitation, Harvard Got a Discussion …

Yes, Julian Assange has a solar-eclipse conspiracy theory for …

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is finding himself in an unique predicament. In the past when he has been criticized, it has mainly been for his alleged alliance with Russias Vladimir Putin.

Now Assange is facing criticism for something altogether different denying basic medical science.

On Monday evening, Assange tweeted that there is no danger staring directly at the moon during a total eclipse. Instead, as he explained to a Twitter user who responded to him, you look away when you see it ending. Eyes also move to protect themselves. The hysteria seems to be sustained by glasses company profits.

Assange later tried to defend himself by posting a NASA description of solar eclipses that did nothing to reinforce his claim that one can safely stare directly at the moon during an eclipse.

To understand howAssange got his science wrong, note thisobservation by Gizmodos Tom McKay:

In fairness to Assange, hes not wrong that a total solar eclipse is, in theory, safe to look at during the very short period of time that the main body of the sun is covered entirely by the moon. In that extremely limited circumstance, only parts of the the suns corona which do not emit enough energy to damage the eye are visible.

But the vast majority of people viewing an eclipse never see a totality. Theyll see a partial eclipse, which is when only a significant percentage of the sun is covered (as in New York today, whereonly 72 percent of the sun was obscured). Because so much of the sun is covered during a partial eclipse, ones eyes may not move to protect themselves. Instead, the sun will dim enough that one could get fooled into staring at it, even as its frying the interior of their retinas.

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Yes, Julian Assange has a solar-eclipse conspiracy theory for …

Cryptocurrency Price Predictions 2018: Ripple (XRP) Is the …

By Gaurav S. Iyer, IFC Published : August 25, 2017

Investors looking for cryptocurrency price forecasts are about to have an embarrassment of riches, because everyone and their uncle is shouting predictions from the rooftops. Some of them may even come true.

Most of these forecasts concern Bitcoin and Ethereum, but do not turn a blind eye to the ones featuring altcoins such as Litecoin and Ripple. They are starting from a much lower base, making it easier for them to double, or even triple, in a short amount of time.

For example, XRP grew 3,977% in the first six months of 2017. It is inconceivable that investors can achieve those kind of results from the stock market, yet cryptocurrency price predictions experience bullish runs of that magnitude all the time.

In the past week, dozens of them have achieved triple-digit gains.

Of course, none of these coins have proven their worth. Speculators are largely responsible for the gains, meaning that Xenixcoin or Yescoinor whatever other weirdly named coin is the flavor of the weekcould sink to zero at a moments notice.

That said, these numbers should adequately demonstrate how the cryptocurrency market in 2018 can make you rich.

This may come as a surprise, but the most promising cryptocurrencies for 2018 are the most famous ones. Why? Because survival is next to impossible in the crypto Wild West, so the ones that make it are usually there for a reason.

For instance, Bitcoins immense market power is tied to its brand name recognition. It only grows stronger as the market splinters into more and more pieces.

However, there are more substantive reasons to bet on the original cryptocurrency, including the fact that other currencies came into existence by forking off Bitcoins blockchain. As a result, investors can only access them by first converting fiat money into BTC tokens.

Also Read:

Litecoin Price Prediction 2018: Is Litecoin Potential Higher Than Current Counterparts?

Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash: 5 Things Bitcoiners Need to Know

Ethereum is another stalwart of the cryptocurrency market. Its creation of smart contracts has taken the industry into orbit, providing new companies with an alternate funding source called initial coin offerings or ICOs. You may have heard the term in recent months.

ICOs have become all the rage, with some companies raising $100.0 to $200.0 million in a matter of hours. The best part of an ICO (at least from the perspective of the startup) is that no equity changes hands. Its basically like Kickstarter, but on 13 different steroids.

Most of these token sales happen (surprise, surprise) on Ethereum, which leads to greater trading volume and, to be quite honest, continued relevance for Ether tokens.

And as for Ripple, well, it stands out for being an enterprise play in a field dominated by consumer-facing currencies. While everyone is trying to gin up interest in their peer-to-peer payments service, Ripple is busy negotiating deals with global financial institutions.

Not all currencies can mimic this strategy, because very few of them are structured as companies. They dont have a corporate hierarchy or explicit control over the direction of their token. Some people view that as a knock against RippleI do not.

In fact, I believe that Ripple will outperform Bitcoin and Ethereum in the next 18 months.

Ripple trades under the ticker symbol XRP and has a market capitalization of roughly $10.2 billion (at the time of writing). Its token value surged 3,914% this year alone.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Ripple, it is a blockchain company trying to disrupt SWIFT, the shadowy company that facilitates international payments transfers.

Anyone that has sent money overseas knows what Im referring to. In order to make the payment, you have to provide a SWIFT code. The company has a monopoly on cross-border transfers, having more than 11,000 financial institutions in 200 countries on its network.

Ripple wants to take SWIFT down by working together with banks and other financial institutions. In some quarters, this willingness to work with banks taints Ripple by association. Some view it as heretical, but I personally find Ripples approach to be refreshing.

You see, blockchain is a difficult concept to understand. So are the differences between fiat money and blockchain-based currencies. They are not very easy to explain, making it an uphill battle convincing people that blockchain is the answer to economic crises.

That is a major obstacle for currencies like Bitcoin, because they depend on popular support from vendors and consumers. Ripple does not. It only needs to convince banking officials that blockchain is inevitable and then the game is won.

As such, our Ripple price prediction for 2018 is $2.00.

Although I believe XRP will outperform its peers in 2018, that doesnt mean I think Bitcoin will fall apart. It still has major tailwinds at its back. Moreover, it survived the August 1 fork, earning it serious trust points with investors.

By seeing that Bitcoin could survive a mutiny like Bitcoin Cash, investors were finally able to accept that core issues with the cryptocurrency can be resolved. After all, the entire squabble began over scaling issues. One side didnt like SegWit and they were allowed to express that frustration by forking the blockchain. So they did.

And guess what happened then?

Nothing. Bitcoin miners didnt jump ship or abandon SegWitthey just carried on doing whatever they were doing. In the end, this indifference was the silver bullet for Bitcoin Cashs ambitions.

Bitcoin not only survived the August 1 fiasco, it thrived in the weeks that followed. This reaction fit perfectly with the year-to-date pattern of BTC prices.

Bitcoin prices are up 337%, an impressive tally considering the volatility it endured.

Our Bitcoin price prediction suggests it could reach $10,000 by the end of 2018. However, it does not have a standout cryptocurrency price predictions for 2018, since its gains would not match Ripples price growth on a percentage basis.

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Ethereum holds a special place in the cryptocurrency market. It is more malleable than Bitcoin, more open than Ripple, and has a growing number of other cryptocurrencies dependent on its blockchain. Oh, and it dominates the ICO playing field, so even though it doesnt havethe top cryptocurrency price prediction for 2018, investors shouldnt underestimate it.

Ethereums growing stature comes with growing pains, but it has the added benefit of strengthening the platforms relationship with major institutions like the Russian Central Bank.

They are currently testing a potential fork on the blockchain to run Russias monetary system. If implemented, the new system would upend decades of orthodoxy in monetary policy, not to mention give Ethereum greater cachet in dealing with other central banks.

Singapore, India, and Canada are just a few of the countries experimenting with blockchain technology. If Russias tango with Ethereum goes well, you can be reasonably assured that other nations will line up for their turn. Blockchain was not, and is not, their area of expertise.

It makes sense to outsource such specialized work, but august institutions like central banks can only form partnerships with equally respectable technologies. Blockchain is getting there, but no cryptocurrency has mustered enough authority to take a solid lead.

Ethereum could be the first. Securing that institutional trust could be its gateway to widespread adoption, thus leading to a virtuous circle where more credibility leads to higher ETH prices and higher ETH prices lead to more credibility.

A milder form of that pattern evolved this year out of the ICO craze. Ethereum prices shot up from $7.98 at the start of the year to $410.68 at its peak.

The current price of ETH tokens is roughly $321.00, or 3,923% above where it ended 2016. So in percentage terms, investors rewarded Ethereum more than either Bitcoin or Ripple.

I am incredibly bullish on this trend continuing through 2017 and 2018. Though it should be noted that Ethereums surge looked even more emphatic because it was escaping several ghosts.

The platform had previously been weighed down by its own issues with blockchain forks, not to mention a disastrous episode involving a crowd-sourced venture capital fund.

It was called the Decentralized Autonomous Organisation, or DAO, and it ended in ruins. Lots of people lost money, investors lost faith in Ethereum, and the SEC started to pay attention. At the time, no one was sure the platform or the cryptocurrency would survive.

But Ether emerged from that chaos stronger than ever. ETH prices soared to all-time highs, the ICO market took shape, and central banks began their blockchain experiments. Whether or not you like Ethereum, its difficult to argue this currency has staying power. Its roots are dug too deep for the cryptocurrency price to simply fall apart.

Some regulatory confusion about ICOs is bound to throw a wrench in the works, though, so if youre looking for a cryptocurrency price forecast for Ethereum, I have to keep it conservatively bullish: Ether prices should hit $1,000 by the end of 2018.

As if it werent obvious enough by now, I believe Ripple has the best cryptocurrency price prediction for 2018. Not because it has superior technology, but because it is in the right place, at the right time, and at the right price.

All it takes is for a few Chinese banks to join the network andboomXRP could shoot through the roof.

If you are still skeptical, I urge you to examine the trading volume data of each cryptocurrency. What youll notice is that BTC and ETH are far more active than XRP, which suggests to me that an entire swath of the market is unfamiliar with Ripple.

Once Ripple permeates mainstream culture to the same level as Bitcoin and Ethereum, I believe an influx of speculative trend-followers will set this token aflame. We could see XRP prices deliver another round of triple-digit gains in 2018, making it the clear cryptocurrency to watch.

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Cryptocurrency Price Predictions 2018: Ripple (XRP) Is the …

A Mysterious New Cryptocurrency Is Surging After Being …

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin speaks at TechCrunch in December of 2015.

By John Phillips/Getty Images.

After catching the eye of both the Singapore government and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ethereumthe second-biggest cryptocurrency in the world, after Bitcoincontinues to skyrocket. On Monday morning, the cryptocurrency was trading at a record-high level of $407.10, more than a 5,000 percent rise since the beginning of 2017, when it was trading at $7.98.

Ethereums founder, Vitalik Buterin, recently met with Putin during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a signal that the country may be interested in using digital currency to move its economy beyond gas and oil. The digital economy isnt a separate industry, its essentially the foundation for creating brand-new business models, Putin said at the forum. (Russian entities, like the state development bank VEB, have agreed to use Ethereum to help implement blockchain technology in the country). As investors look for a place to put their assets amid mounting geopolitical instability, some are turning to cryptocurrency. Singapores government has released a report saying it has carried out a test using ethereum blockchain technology to create a national digital currency. Regulators in Japan are issuing new rules that make cryptocurrencies like Ethereum a valid form of payment. And companies such as Toyota and Microsoft, which are members of an organization called the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, are throwing their weight behind the cryptocurrency, too.

Ethereum, which has a total valuation of $36 billion, trails only Bitcoin (valued at $49 billion) in terms of market capitalization. Bitcoin has been rallying all year, reaching a high of above $3,000 for the first time on Sunday as a growing number of people turn to virtual currencies as a safer, faster way to exchange money. But Ethereums rally may still have a ways to go: Pavel Matveev, the co-founder of banking start-up Wirex, tells CNBC that Ethereums price could reach $600 by the end of the year.

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A Mysterious New Cryptocurrency Is Surging After Being …

Even WikiLeaks Haters Shouldn’t Want it Labeled a Hostile Intelligence Agency – The Intercept

It used to be easy to cheer on WikiLeaks. But since 2010, many (myself included) have watched with dismay as WikiLeaks slid from the outletcourageousenough to host Chelsea Mannings data dump to a murky melange of bad-faith propagandizing and newsworthy disclosures. At a time when WikiLeaks and its founder are willing to help pushPizzagate, and unable totweet about sunglasses sans conspiracy-think, its not unfair to view Assange as being motivated as much by hisvarious axes to grind as by azeal for transparency. But even the harshest WikiLeaks critics should resist the Senates attempt to brand the website anon-state hostile intelligence service inthe 2018 intelligence authorization bill.

Ron Wydenisnt a friend of WikiLeaks. In May, the Oregon senatorsoffice tweeted that it was an established fact that Trump actively encouraged Russians & WikiLeaks to attack our democracy, and pointed out, with suspicion, Trumps praise for WikiLeaks during the campaign. Likehis Democratic colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Wydenembraced the tough language on Russian meddling that had been folded intothe nations spy budget, but unlike them he voted against the reauthorization billbecause ofthis sentence: It is the sense of Congress that WikiLeaks and the senior leadership of WikiLeaks resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States.

So, whats a non-state hostile intelligence service? Thats a great question, given that an intelligence service is a spy agency, and spy agencies are the tools of governments, and therefore not stateless. Thats exactly why Wyden, despite his opposition toWikiLeaks and determination to investigate Russian electoral interference, came to its defense: Official resolutions are risky when no ones really sure whats being resolved. Perhaps the hostile agency language would be purely symbolic, but if the clause somehow proved to have some teeth, plenty of publishersnot so easily written offas tools of foreign meddling could be at risk.

The Hill reports that Wyden objected to the use of the novel phrase to label WikiLeaks because the ambiguous term may have legal, constitutional, and policy implications, particularly should it be applied to journalists inquiring about secrets, adding that the notion theU.S. government has some unstated course of action against non-state hostile intelligence services is equally troubling. When CIA director Mike Pompeo used the non-state hostile intelligence service phrase to describe WikiLeaks in a think tank address in April, the words were equally unclear, and nothing has changed four months later, except the possibility that the language would be become government policy. Thats significant, and should worry you whether you hate WikiLeaks or not.

Wyden press director Keith Chu added that even though the senator has repeatedly criticized WikiLeaks for the role it played in the last election as a tool of Russia, its easy to imagine how this type of designation could be used against legitimate press outlets, or used to target journalists who may use materials published by WikiLeaks. In short, regardless of any low opinion of Assange or his site, the precedent of creating this new category of enemy to the United States is dangerous.

The U.S. government despises WikiLeaks, and has since at least 2010, when the group released more than half a million documents revealing secrets about decades of U.S. diplomacy and about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This animosity is itselfno secret. The website exists to antagonize and embarrass world governments, butAmerican power has remained the sites largest target and Assangesbte noire.Hatred for Assange and a longing to see him taken down is shared across the U.S.political spectrum by officials elected and unelected and is firmly in the public record; so too is Assanges unbendinghostility toward the U.S. government.

Whats not in the public record is clear evidence ofWikiLeaks status as anon-state hostile intelligence service, whatever that means. The declassified version of the U.S. Intelligence Communitys report on alleged Russian electoral interference states, We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU)obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks. The report notes that Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity, but thats about as far as the collaboration is defined. Its important to distinguish being thoroughly supportive of something and actually being part of it; if there were no difference, Breitbarts offices would be located in a tent on the South Lawn.

It seems entirely plausible that WikiLeaks was in some sense in cahoots with some portion of the Russian government: The invented hacker persona Guccifer 2.0, whichprivate analysts and the U.S. government both allege was a figment of Russian intelligence, was open about its collaboration with WikiLeaks (last summer, Guccifer 2.0 told me theywere preparing to hand DNC materials to WikiLeaks shortly before it happened). The alignment of some professed values and goals between Putin, Assange, and Trump is also undeniable. Its for this reason that the site has picked up so many vocal detractors (and in fairness, supporters) over the past year. But theres nothing about the abovethats inconsistent with the possibility that Assange received materials from Russian hackers and simplywasnt concerned with or bothered by their origin, given that they would embarrass and destabilize his arch nemesis Hillary Clinton. That should openup a public debate over whether Assange is too personally compromised as a publisher, butshould suspicion of a publishers motivesbe enshrined in law? If Assange is a hack with a flagrant agenda and few scruples, then hes got lots of company.

To legendary First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams,who told The Intercept that hesquite critical of WikiLeaks behavior, the factual issue about just what WikiLeaks has done, what contacts it has and has had with adversaries of this country, and the like should be separate from an official government designation:

The broader issue is whether our government should be designating any entity as a non-state hostile intelligence agency. Im not sure of the intended consequences of such a designation but Im pretty sure it could open WikiLeaks to threats and perhaps even violence. It has the sound of some official finding, which it is not, with some legal meaning to it, which it is not. So while I wouldnt object to high ranking intelligence officials harshly criticizing WikiLeaks, Id stay away from faux official designations.

Trevor Timm, Executive Directorof the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told The Intercept that Ron Wyden is right that the WikiLeaks provision is unprecedented, vague, and potentially very dangerous:

Regardless of whether you like or hate WikiLeaks, Congress singling out a publisher of information using a undefined and made up term like non-state hostile intelligence service to potentially stifle First Amendment rights and opening the door to more surveillance of sources should concern all journalists. Its a shame more members of Congress do not see this obvious danger.

(Freedom of the Press Foundation receives funds from The Intercepts parent company.)

In short, even if you think Julian Assange is a sleaze, or a liar, or a Putinist, and even if he were indeed all of those bad things, hes also a publisher of authentic information he wasnt supposed to have. A politically motivated publisher is still a publisher, and to deem one of them an enemy of the state would endanger any outletsworking with or interested in materials and information they arent supposed to havewhich in 2017 is almost all of them. From the Department of Justice to the White House to Congress, the anti-leaker sentiment is feverish, and the openly threatening language used against those who would publish true information unprecedented. WikiLeaks makes a tempting target for defenders of state secrecy because the websites reputation is mostly in the mud once you get outside of Trumplandbut consider the consequences.

Non-state hostile intelligence service has no technical meaningwhat would stop an outlet like the New York Times (or all of its peers and competitors) from being deemed the same based on its reporting of the same hacked emails?

What exactly is the legal status of anon-state hostile intelligence service? Would donating to WikiLeaks be considered providing material aid to an enemy?

What of the many reputable journalists whove workedwith WikiLeaks in the past, from the New York Times to Der Spiegel? Are they now guilty of having collaboratedwith anon-state hostile intelligence service?

Were WikiLeaks to publish another truly groundbreaking and valuable release along the line of Mannings, what then? Would journalists be free to glean stories from this enemy spy agency?

There arent any answers to these questions, making the language all risk with little upshot of reforming or changing Assange or WikiLeaks in any meaningful way. The much more likely outcome would be Assange treating the designation as a vindication, proof that hes a victim of U.S. governmental persecution. It would not, however, do much to persuade him that Le Pen boosterism and bogus spirit cooking conspiracy theories arent in the public interest, but could do much to chill those around the world doing real work. Dont give Assange, or Pompeo, the satisfaction.

Top photo: Julian Assange leaves after speaking to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador in London, England on May 19, 2017.

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Even WikiLeaks Haters Shouldn’t Want it Labeled a Hostile Intelligence Agency – The Intercept

Chelsea Manning says her commutation was nothing like Joe Arpaio’s pardon, thanks – Mashable

Not the same as the convicted sheriff.

Image: Tim Travers Hawkins/COURTESY OF CHELSEA MANNING HANDOUT/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

On Friday night, in the middle of a hurricane, President Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff who profiled Latinos and ignored a court order to stop.

It’s nothing like what happened to Chelsea Manning, who spent seven years in prison for leaking classified documents and had the rest of her 35-year sentence commuted by President Obama in January.

Some people, however, were evidently using Obama’s decision to commute Manning’s sentence to justify Trump’s decision to pardon Arpaio, who hasn’t served any jail time for his conviction of criminal contempt or expressed any remorse for his history of racial profiling.

Manning quickly shut them down.

“Why does everyone insist on comparing my commutation with the pardon of some crooked cop?” she tweeted Friday night, shortly after Trump pardoned Arpaio.

Trump hinted that he might pardon Arpaio during his rally in Phoenix on Tuesday. In a tweet Friday night, the president called the sheriff an “American patriot.”

Along with profiling Latinos, Arpaio was known for harsh, violent conditions in the jails he oversaw for over 20 years. He was also the sheriff who, you might remember, sent a member of his staff to Hawaii to look for Obama’s birth certificate.

So it’s not surprising Manning would immediately criticize those who compared his case with herswhere both the situation of the pardon and commutation were wildly different, as were reasons why both were convicted.

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Chelsea Manning says her commutation was nothing like Joe Arpaio’s pardon, thanks – Mashable

Bradley Manning: I want to live as a woman – TODAY.com

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Bradley Manning, the Army private sentenced to military prison for leaking classified documents, revealed he intends to live out the remainder of his life as a woman.

I am Chelsea Manning. I am female, the Army private wrote in a statement read on TODAY Thursday. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.

Manning, 25, was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday after having been found guilty of 20 charges ranging from espionage to theft for leaking more than 700,000 documents to the WikiLeaks website while working in Iraq in 2010.

Read Manning’s full statement

I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility), Manning continued in the statement. I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.

Manning signed the letter Chelsea E. Manning.

During his trial, Mannings defense team suggested his struggles with gender identity as a gay soldier were a factor in his decision to leak. His attorneys presented an email to a former supervisor from April 2010 in which he said he was transgender and joined the Army to get rid of it. The email, which had the subject line My Problem, also included a photo of Manning in which he is wearing a blonde wig and lipstick. During Mannings nine-month detainment at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., following his arrest in 2010, he sent two letters to his counselor using the name Breanna, Master Sgt. Craig Blenis testified at his trial.

Burning Questions: Can you begin a gender change in an Army prison?

“The stress that he was under was mostly to give context to what was going on at the time,” Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Thursday. “It was never an excuse because that’s not what drove his actions. What drove his actions was a strong moral compass.”

Manning will likely serve the sentence at Fort Leavenworth, the only military prison for service members sentenced to 10 or more years, a Military District of Washington spokesperson told The Associated Press.

Coombs said he is “hoping” that Fort Leavenworth “would do the right thing” and provide hormone therapy for Manning. “If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they are forced to do so.”

The Army responded to Manning’s decision to seek hormone therapy with a statement.

“Inmates at the United States Disciplinary Barracks and Joint Regional Correctional Facility are treated equally regardless of race, rank, ethnicity or sexual orientation,” the statement reads. “All inmates are considered soldiers and are treated as such with access to mental health professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and behavioral science noncommissioned officers with experience in addressing the needs of military personnel in pre- and post-trial confinement.

“The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder. The USDB has implemented risk assessment protocols and safety procedures to address high risk factors identified with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.”

In the U.S. prison system, transgender prisoners who have not had genital surgery are generally assigned to live with their birth-sex peers, but the military policy is unclear.

The Army private’s statement, provided to TODAY exclusively, signed “Chelsea E. Manning.”

On whether Manning will seek sexual reassignment surgery, Coombs said “I haven’t really discussed that aspect with her. Really, it’s more about getting the hormone therapy, so at this point I don’t know the answer to that.”

Coombs told Guthrie that he expects Manning “to be out” on parole in seven years. “But I actually expect him to get pardoned,” Coombs continued. “At least that’s what my hope is, that the president will in fact pardon him.”

Coombs said he doesn’t fear for Manning’s safety in prison, and that Manning will not ask to live in a female prison. “Everyone that’s in a military prison is a first-time offender. These are soldiers who have done something wrong, have gone to prison and are really just trying to do their time and then get out.”

In the statement read on TODAY, Manning thanked her supporters. I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.

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Bradley Manning: I want to live as a woman – TODAY.com

Chelsea Manning reveals the real reason Bradley Manning joined the military – TheBlaze.com

Chelsea Manning, the transgender U.S. Army soldier formerly known as Pvt. Bradley Manning, spoke out about the reason shedecided to join the military in the first place but it didnt have much to do withserving thecountry.

Manning was found guilty in 2013 on charges of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified, sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks during a tour in Iraq. The day after a military court sentences Manning to 35 years in prison, she announced that she was transgender.

Manning became the first known soldierto undergo hormone treatment therapy while incarcerated. Shortly before leaving office, former President Barack Obama commuted Mannings sentence,and she was released in May 2017 after serving approximately sevenyears of a35-year sentence.

Manning, in an op-ed for Yahoo!, said that transgenderism and an ongoingbattle with sexuality were catalysts forenlisting inthe Army.

The former U.S. military analyst admitted in the Yahoo!op-ed that enrolling in the Army was all about provinga point to herself and to other people.

By the time I enrolled in the military at 20, I had spent years in denial about who I really was, Manning wrote. I was openly gay and would go through periods of cross-dressing, and had even thought about transitioning, but I was in such complete denial.

To overcompensate and because I was constantly being reminded of how inadequate I was as a male I enrolled in the military, Manningcontinued. My thought was, I must enlist and man up.’

Manning explained that the worst thing about being a pre-transition individualin the Army was young male soldiersrhetoric.

The one place I never felt at all comfortable in the military was in private circles of conversation. Theres a tendency, especially among young men, to objectify and denigrate women behind closed doors. Theyd say ridiculous, raunchy things about women call them sluts and whores, basically just treat them like objects. It was a line I just couldnt cross. Id try to avoid those kinds of macho conversations, because thats inevitably what would come up. Id get very, very distant.

Manning wrotethat she likelywould have been more successfulin her role as a U.S. military analyst if shed had the freedom to be out and argued againstthe notion that, if she hadnt been a trans soldier, the WikiLeaks incident would not have occurred.

I loved my job and I took my military career very seriously. Theres this idea out there that, had I not been trans, the leaks and stuff would never have happened. But to my mind those are two completely separate things. Had I been out, I think I still would have been attracted to the military, but I would have been more comfortable and gotten along with people better. Being closeted often put me in situations where I couldnt concentrate or even think straight.

Mannings comments on transgenderism in the militarycame just weeks after President Donald Trump proposed a ban ontransgenders serving in the U.S. military.

Trump saidin July, After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.

Trumps move to ban transgender individuals in the military came on the heels of military leaders exploring options to delay the enlistment of transgender individuals to further assess behaviors and liabilities.

Then House Democrats signed a letter to the office of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, telling the Pentagon not to comply with Trumps ban on transgenders serving in the U.S. military.

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Chelsea Manning reveals the real reason Bradley Manning joined the military – TheBlaze.com