RT: Let’s start by talking press freedoms in Ukraine, because an OSCE representative has hit out by what has been described as an infringement of those freedoms. Do you think we are going to hear much about this in the West?
Alexander Mercouris: No, we’re not going to hear much about it in the West. The simple fact is when Ukrainian or Western journalists are barred from Russia, it becomes a huge issue. We saw that with the Luke Harding affair, for example, when he didn’t sort out his visa properly. But when it happens to Russians in Ukraine, the Western media and Western governments become far less concerned – and one has to say, frankly, there is a double standard involved.
RT: We have heard about protests swelling up in the southeast of the country. Now Kiev has threatened “a harsh response.” What exactly do you think they mean by that?
AM: We will just have to wait and see. If they are going to use a harsh response, that sounds like they are going to use force. That would mean bringing in Interior Ministry troops, police, possibly riot police, although the former riot police has been disbanded. Even dare one say it - the army - because some of these people in Donetsk are apparently armed, at least in some form. The danger with that is, if you start using force against these protesters, then that will start countervailing force from the protesters and then outsiders might get drawn in.
RT: In the southeast, the unrest is increasing and a lot of people are saying that the interim leaders could have prevented a lot of this if they’d just paid a little bit more attention to the concerns of Russian speakers. Why do you think they did not do that?
AM: Because if you look at the government that was formed after Yanukovich was overthrown, it was absolutely a government of the victors. This was a point made incidentally by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Basically the people who were involved in the protests against Yanukovich formed a government, a coalition government that included themselves, so they had no room to bring in easterners and they left them out and that is what the problem is.
RT: As we have seen now with a few local government buildings stormed, the protesters are taking action into their own hands. Kiev is responding with fairly aggressive rhetoric. How far do you think they will go on this?
AM: I do not know. There is of course another factor, which is that the Russian government has said if there is force used against eastern Ukrainians, then Putin has authorization to bring in the Russian army. He already made that clear and the Federation Council has passed it. I think there will be enormous pressure on the Ukrainians, from Europe especially, to try and keep this thing moderate, because nobody outside Ukraine wants this crisis to escalate. My guess is there is more likely to be negotiations rather than force, but it is a very volatile situation and we will have to wait and see.
RT: Do you think the protesters - who seem to be very hands-on, to put it mildly at the moment - will be willing to negotiate? Should Kiev, as you say, be forced to back down and go for negotiations?
AM: Yes, I think they probably would be, but their demands are very clear and the longer Kiev takes to actually address those demands, the more their demands will escalate. And there will come a point, a tipping point, beyond which negotiations are no longer possible. I do not think we are there yet, but we are coming close.
The FBI arrested El Mehdi Semlali Fahti, 27, after “wires and tools” were found in his Bridgeport apartment, the Connecticut Post reported. The FBI did not say if explosives were uncovered.
Fahti communicated with an undercover FBI agent in five recorded discussions during which he revealed that he had studied the bomb attack plan for months. He said he made a chemical bomb while in high school in Morocco, according to court documents.
During the recordings, Fahti mentioned he could acquire other materials he needed for his plot in “Southern California on the border.”
Funding, he said in the conversations, would come from “secret accounts” that contained money-laundered cash and profits from drug deals, according to the FBI.
The affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Anabela Sharp does not specify what buildings Fahti had allegedly mentioned as targets. He did say, though, that one was an out-of-state school and the other a federal building located in Connecticut.
Fahti could face terrorism charges if evidence is taken to a federal grand jury in the indictment process.
He is accused of making a false statement, falsely swearing under oath, and falsifying declarations to a federal judge, as he sought political asylum when faced with deportation back to Morocco.
Fahti told an Immigration judge that he was the victim of beatings, arrests, and imprisonment in Morocco.
In recorded conversations with the undercover agent, Fahti said he had researched alleged abuse by the Moroccan government against those related to the Jamaat Ansar El-Mehdi and the Western Sahara freedom movement.
"Everything he wrote in his refugee application coincided with the actual events," the affidavit noted.
The judge believed the story, and Fahti was allowed to stay in the US for seven years after his student visa expired. He allegedly told the undercover agent that "the more he thinks about the case, he laughs because he cannot believe the judge believed him."
Fahti previously flunked out of Virginia International University. After buying time with the asylum ruse, he then traveled around the US, getting arrested on a trespassing charge in Virginia that was later dropped. He also was briefly incarcerated in California for theft.
Fahti had only recently moved to Bridgeport in January. He was living with someone he had met while incarcerated in Virginia, the FBI said.
On Monday, Fahti, represented by Assistant US Public Defender Paul Thomas, was ordered to Wyatt Detention Center in Rhode Island, as he was a danger to the community and a flight risk, according to US Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel.
So, namecoin supports merged mining against bitcoin. My understanding of the merged mining protocol is that basically miners can use the primary coin's POW solution to solve the aux coin's block. It's possible for a primary coin POW solution to not be difficult enough for the primary coin, but be valid for the secondary coin.
However, given this, what would stop a malicious person from working on forging a set of primary blocks, such that they would meet the aux difficulty. They would set their blocks up to be a very high height so they have plenty of time to mine the blocks at the target difficulty (since they don't have enough power to do it in realtime of course). And then, when they need to control of the blockchain, they would submit all of these forged blocks at the proper time, messing up target block times and allowing them to possibly double spend..
How is this prevented?
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The time has come to flip to a new page in the magazine. My time as Editor-in-Chief at Bitcoin Magazine has come to an end. It has been a great honor and a tremendously fun and crazy adventure to take. From initial concept, to the form of a website and finally a paper magazine. We couldn’t have done it without your help and support. You believed in us from the beginning and for that I will always be grateful.
One of the best parts of this entire Bitcoin adventure is the people you get to meet. Before starting this new chapter, I wanted to take a moment to thank again everyone for their support, passion and hard work. Dedicated people like Elizabeth, Vitalik, Ryan, Adam, Vanessa, Corinne, Shane, Roxana, and the rest of our contributors are the heart of this magazine.
Our new editor, Ruben, is a good friend of mine, a fantastic person and writer. It feels great to know that the person who will be carrying the torch is one of the good guys. It is a pleasure to work with people that are driven by passion rather than money.
You are all inspiring colleagues, dear friends and genuinely good people. I know the future is bright and that the magazine will continue to even greater success.
When Vitalik shared his Ethereum idea with me back in November 2013, I instantly knew that I could help the project in some way. I wasn’t sure how at first. As months have passed, one of the Ethereum projects I have enjoyed most, has been working on the concept of “holons” – meaning something that is simultaneously a whole and a part, structures existing at a balance point between chaos and order. It is comforting to know that the magazine is in good hands while this idea unfolds.
Holons are purposeful physical manifestations of the protocol that use and develop distributed authority systems and open technologies. They are highly innovative and agile hubs synced across the globe, with the mission of enabling people to develop world changing tools – transparency, openness, inclusiveness, fairness and purposefulness being the defining traits of this new model.
This idea quickly evolved into a project on its own and the rabbit hole keeps getting deeper. It feels like this journey is shaping up without any estimation of a return date. The last time I had this feeling was when the idea of starting this magazine was in development. How far this new project can ultimately go is still unclear even to me. However, I do see a new and beautiful pattern for a decentralized global society starting to emerge.
The new chapter begins.
Thank you for everything,