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Free Speech Can Cost Prison Time: The Barrett Brown Story

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Free speech censoredThe United States Constitution was written in the heady days following the American revolution, which was a break from what the founders deemed a corrupt, despotic bastion of totalitarianism. Their contention was not without foundation — elsewhere in the British empire, the Irish were banned from even speaking their native language. Freedom of expression as a guaranteed right was a new idea which would be continually challenged and upheld for the next couple hundred years.

Also read: Wikileaks’ Julian Assange May Have Saved Bitcoin

What Is That Oath For?

All officers of the federal government, including the FBI, are dutifully sworn to uphold the constitution, including the Bill of Rights, the first item of which is protects freedom of speech and of the press. It reads like so:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is why the case of Barett Brown, commented on by WikiLeaks founder and old-school hacker Julian Assange recently, is so perplexing. It is an example of free speech costing one family a great deal, with Brown’s mother having done six months probation for not readily handing over her journalist son’s notebooks and Brown spending the last two years in a jail cell waiting to find out what happens next.

Brown’s Crime

Barrett Brown is said to have been associated with the hacktivist (politicized hacker) group Anonymous and when Hector Monsegur of an associated group, LulzSec, decided to co-operate with authorities after his own apprehension, he named Brown as someone who possessed a great deal of evidence privy to his investigation. Subsequently in March, 2012, both his apartment and his mother’s house were raided by the FBI. His mother hid her son’s notebooks and later did the previously mentioned sentence of probation. The FBI took Brown’s laptops and this led him to create a series of 2YouTube videos2 in which he demanded his property back. The agent he named, Robert Smith, apparently interpreted the videos as a threat and Brown was then arrested September 12th. He so happened to have been on a video chat which was recorded.

The three videos entitled “Why FBI Agent Robert Smith Has Two Weeks To Send my Property Back” span about 45 minutes and during them Brown takes the time to give the history of the Anonymous movement as he saw it. In video three, he finally makes his purpose plain:

Agent Robert Smith noted, when he came to my f—ing house, when he came to my f—ing mom’s house rather in this case, after already having raided my house […] that they didn’t put up the information or tell anyone about me being raided so the address wouldn’t get out to the Zetas because the Zetas are a danger to me […] [someone] eventually got my actual address and posted it so the Zetas could come kill me if they wanted to. […] If it’s legal when it’s done to me then it’s going to be legal when it’s done to Agent Robert Smith, who is criminal, who is involved in a criminal conspiracy […] that’s why Robert Smith’s life is over. When I say his life is over, I don’t say I’m going to go kill him. I’m going to ruin his life and look into his f—ing kids.

We can assume the threatening part to Agent Smith is the statement that his life is over, but then again, the following sentence clarifies the opposite. It was posted to YouTube the same day Brown was arrested.

Connection to WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks has always been a pro-freedom organization dedicated to exposing the truth about corrupt organizations. According to a post made by founder Julian Assange, Brown is also in trouble for retweeting a quote by Fox News host Bob Beckel, who at the time was calling for the assassination of Assange and associated journalists as the government struggled to classify them as “enemy combatants” due to their blatant leaking of government documents relating to the War on Terror and a number of other things. What Beckel had said was, “dead men can’t leak stuff… illegally shoot the son of a bitch.” According to Assange, this was twisted by the government to mean that Brown was calling for the illegal shooting of an FBI agent:

The most serious claim against Barrett Brown is that six months after the March 6, 2012 FBI raid on his mother’s address he tweeted “illegally shoot the son of a bitch”. It sounds bad. It is a clear incitement to murder. The FBI claim that the “son of a bitch” Barrett was referring to was one of their agents. That is false. The “son of a bitch” is me—and the person who called for my assassination was not Barrett Brown. […] Barrett’s full retweet was “dead men can’t leak stuff… illegally shoot the son of a bitch”. The quote is from Fox news host Bob Beckel, who called for my assassination—an injustice that Barrett was trying to draw attention to.

Overall, the charges against Brown are in violation of the first amendment as discussed earlier in this article, and all of the agents involved in bringing them are also in direct violation thereof. The use of leaked documents and linking to such documents is, in fact, protected speech. Expressing frustration at government harassment and threatening to use explicitly legal means to counter-harass those responsible for it, while foolish, is also legal. In an actually free society, this would not be something a court would have to decide.

Not much more is known about the case of Brown since in 2013 his legal defense was gagged from discussing or clarifying the case any further for the public. By the grace of God, this is still an involved if corrupt process, not a simple matter of course, but the fact that it was done is nothing if not troubling. Brown’s next court date is in January and his sentencing for “accessory after the fact in the unauthorized access to a protected computer” will take place then.

Image from Evan McCaffrey and Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 2 rated postsP. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link




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Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD on a Potential Launchpad for Another Rocket to the North

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  • The Litecoin (LTC) price remains elevated, as the bulls look at continuing the strong recent run higher.
  • Coinbase Wallet announces support for Litecoin, joining the likes of bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETH).

LTC/USD: Recent Price Behavior

The LTC/USD bulls have resumed upside momentum, following brief and minor pullback observed in the session on Thursday. At the time of writing Litecoin is seen trading up in minor positive territory, with gains of around 1.5%. It is worth noting, since 8th February the price has gained as much as 60%, with the high print up at $53.65 produced on 20th February.

The big chunky jump north came after the price managed to escape a narrowing daily range block formation. LTC/USD was moving within the confinements of this for 11 January to 8th February. The breakout higher was very much explosive, given the prolonged period it has traded within. In terms of the initial spike observed on the 8th, it was a gain of around 45% in a single session.

Coinbase Wallet to Support Litecoin

Coinbase, the leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, announced it will now support LTC on their native Coinbase Wallet. This will allow users to store their LTC directly on the app. The fifth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization will be joining the likes of bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETH).

Users of the Coinbase Wallet are going to have the ability to download a required update with Litecoin support in the coming weeks via the Apple Store or Google Play Store. Storing LTC will be immediately available upon the completion of the update. Users will need to choose the ‘Receive’ option; this can be observed on the main wallet page to deposit LTC into the wallet.

In the official blog announcement, Coinbase said:

“The new Wallet update with Litecoin support will roll out to all users on iOS and Android over the next few weeks. LTC support is activated by default — all you need to do is tap ‘Receive’ on the main wallet tab and select Litecoin to send LTC to your Coinbase Wallet.”

Technical Review – LTC/USD

LTC/USD daily chart.

The Litecoin price has stabilized at heights above the psychological $50 price mark. A near-term area of demand is seen from the $50-$47 price range, which is helping keep LTC/USD propped up. The next upside targets for the bulls are seen just above a supply zone tracking from $55-$57. It last traded up at these heights back in November 2018. Should the bulls manage to maintain upside momentum, then eyes will be on a return into $65 territory, where the next area of supply is tracking.

In terms of support, as detailed earlier, immediate relief is found within the $50-$47 range. If this fails to hold, then a potential chunky wave of selling pressure would likely come into play. The next demand area to the downside runs from $42.50-$39.50; price last traded here between 9-16th February. LTC/USD had briefly consolidated within this zone before a further squeeze to the north occurred.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

 Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 126 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Binance Coin Price Analysis: BNB Bulls Maintain Elevation Following Testnet Launch for Binance DEX

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  • Binance Coin on Friday is holding healthy gains of around 3% in the early part of the session.
  • The decentralized exchange Binance DEX testnet was launched earlier this week. Binance will be looking to gather user feedback before an official roll-out of the platform.

Binance’s BNB price continues to somewhat outperform several of its peers. BNB/USDT is trading up over 3% in the early part of the session on Friday. Since the start of February, the BNB bulls have enjoyed a strong move north, having gained around 80%. The price is currently trading in proximity to its highest levels since October 2018, entering a zone that is known for sellers. The next significant technical barrier for the bulls is within reach; for greater upside it must be broken down.

Binance DEX Testnet Running

Earlier this week, Binance, the world largest cryptocurrency exchange by traded volume, launched the testnet for its decentralized trading platform. Binance DEX has been made available for public testing; users can create crypto wallets and start familiarizing themselves with the platform’s interface. The platform is running on the Binance Chain, which is their proprietary blockchain.

Furthermore, the company released a blockchain explorer for the testnet; this allows users to search by an individual block, transaction, asset, address and order ID via the blockchain. The community will be able to participate as individual nodes, in addition to holding their private keys.

Binance has noted it will need to start gathering much feedback from its community on this current testnet. The company can then look at the timeline for a major final step of rolling out the decentralized exchange.

The CEO and co-founder Changpeng Zhao commented following the announcement:

“With Binance DEX, we provide a different balance of security, freedom, and ease-of-use, where you take more responsibility and are in more control of personal assets.”

Technical Review – BNB/USDT

BNB/USDT daily chart.

Given current upside momentum, the areas of resistance must be noted as potential barriers to disrupt this bull run. Firstly, a supply area can be observed just ahead tracking from $10.90 up to $11.63. The BNB/USDT bulls faltered here on several occasions in August, September and October 2018. The damage occurred after the rejection in October, which gradually went on to lead to a steep bearish trend that commenced in November. The price went on to drop around 50%, throughout November up to early December.

Another chunky wave of buying pressure would likely come into play, should the bulls break the mentioned supply. Furthermore, eyes will then be on a return back towards the $14-$15 price range. BNB/USDT last traded up at these heights back in August 2018, just before the bear market kicked in again with intense selling pressure.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 126 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Monero Price Analysis: The Choice of Cyber Criminals, XMR/USD is Vulnerable to Full Reversal

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  • Monero price on Thursday was hit with steep losses, dropping as much as 5% in the session.
  • Trend Micro, a security intelligence firm, finds a Monero hacking tool for installing mining malware.

XMR/USD: Recent Price Behavior

Monero’s XMR price has been cooling over the last day, having dropped around 5% at the time of writing on Thursday. The move south comes after a decent run higher over the past couple of weeks. XMR/USD jumped almost 30% from 7th February up to 19th February, before easing away from the high print. The price did manage to hit its highest level seen since 10th January.

Security Intelligence Identifies Monero Hacking Tool

Researchers at Trend Micro, a security intelligence firm, have detailed that there is a notable surge in a Monero hack-tool installation. It reportedly attempts to exploit a vulnerability seen on Windows SMB, which has been patched up since 2017. Organizations in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Italy are said to be the ones targeted, according to the researchers.

The blog published via Trend Micro details that the tool seems to be a merger of existing threats. In particular, it has targeted Microsoft Windows users – MIMIKATZ and RADMIN. As per Trend Micro:

“Between the last week of January to February, we noticed an increase in hack tool installation attempts. That dropped seemingly random files into the Windows directory. Initially appearing unrelated, the analysis showed the final payload to be a Monero cryptocurrency-mining malware variant. It scans for open port 445 and exploits a Windows SMB Server Vulnerability MS17-010 (patched in 2017) for its infection and propagation routines.”

The research does not come as much of a surprise, given the raft of Monero mining malware threats seen over the past year. Cyber criminals have strong favor for the altcoin given its privacy and anonymity, in addition to the ease of mining it on devices as simple as laptops and smartphones.

Technical Review – XMR/USD

XMR/USD daily chart.

Given the current edging south, eyes are now on the next area of support, which can be seen below at the prior acting range-block formation. XMR/USD between 11th Jan to 8th February was moving within a narrowing daily range. The area above this is now acting as support, as seen between 10-17th February. This came into play after a breakout and retest of the breached block. In terms of the comfort area, it is seen tracking from $47.50 down to $42.00. The bear pressure may prove to be too much for the support and force a breach. Another potential retest of the low down at $38.80 could be called into action.

Lastly, resistance to the upside is observed from the $53-$60 price range, which is the near-term supply and high area from 24th December to early January 2019. Further north, there can also be a chunky barrier seen ahead of the psychological $100 mark, tracking from $75-$95 range.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 126 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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