Exclusive Interview: “[Ukraine’s] Sacrifices Are Our Sacrifices”

SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS – On the eve of a widely predicted Ukrainian offensive along a 900-mile front that includes a bevy of fixed Russian positions, the very nature of what is at stake for both Kyiv and its western allies is now coming into greater focus. The conflict, brought on by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year, is not so much a regional war, security experts say, but rather a “regional war in the dimension of … [a] global conflict,” according to retired four-star Gen. John Allen, former Commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. In an exclusive briefing with The Cipher BriefAllen detailed Russian tactics, broader implications of the war, new battlefield paradigms in both hybrid warfare and public-private partnerships, as well as the role of an increasingly-involved Chinese diplomacy, and perhaps even military efforts.

The message Allen sought to convey both underlined the perils of a potential defeat, and the ripple effects that it could have for both the US and its European allies. “Ukrainians are fighting and dying on the battlefield for their independence, for their very survival,” he said. “But in many respects, their sacrifices are our sacrifices.”

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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Could Greece and Turkey reconcile after elections? | Elections News

Athens, Greece – So-called earthquake diplomacy is a potential opportunity for Ankara and Athens to mend fences after elections in both countries this month. That seems to be the prevailing theory in the US State Department, after an earthquake in February killed tens of thousands of people in Turkey and left 1.5 million homeless.

“It is in everyone’s interest here to work towards peace,” said US Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis at the Delphi Economic Forum on April 27. “At the end of the day, actions have not followed election-year rhetoric. There is a desire on both sides of the Aegean to seek peace and compromise.”

Greece was the first country to send emergency assistance and extraction teams to Turkey, and the foreign and defense ministers of both countries have since met and proclaimed improved relations.

But that could be skin deep.

After expressing his condolences for a rail disaster in late February that killed 57 people in Greece, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan restated Ankara’s disputes about Greek sovereignty over the east Aegean islands. So did his foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Last year, Erdogan’s junior coalition partner caused a stir when he published a map depicting some islands as Turkish. And last month, Erdogan followed suit in a television campaign ad.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis dismissed those maps as “provocative, unacceptable and ridiculous”. His defense minister, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, said their publication was a sign of the fact that “long-term Turkish goals don’t change”.

Nonetheless, there is a persistent rumor that after Turkey’s May 14 elections and Greece’s May 21 vote, the US will encourage Germany to undertake a diplomatic initiative to get Greek-Turkish talks going.

“My sources tell me that the US has been discussing a German diplomatic initiative for a while now,” Constantinos Filis, director of the Institute of Global Affairs at the American College of Greece, told Al Jazeera.

Strategic rivalry

The COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine war have kept the two countries’ deteriorating relationship largely out of the headlines.

In 2020, the Greek and Turkish navies nearly came to blows, as Greece objected to Turkish surveys for undersea oil and gas in what it considers its continental shelf.

The bone of contention is approximately half a million square kilometers of the east Mediterranean, which Greece believes can claim as its continental shelf under the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the global standard for maritime border delimitations.

Greece believes it has indications of 70-90 trillion cubic feet of gas deposits in the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea west of Crete – just a section of that expand – worth some $200bn, and now it needs to replace Russian gas in Europe.

Turkey, not a signatory to UNCLOS, objects, and has threatened Greece with war should it extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles off its mainland and island coasts in the Aegean – another UNCLOS entitlement.

Greece is so alarmed that despite its economic straits, it has embarked on an 11

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Sam Altman’s Worldcoin Promised Them Free Crypto For An Eyeball Scan. Now They Feel Robbed.

Blania described a futuristic world awash in Orbs of varying shapes and sizes, where each person would be assigned a unique and anonymized code linked to their iris that they could use to log in to a host of web and blockchain-based applications.

Blania did not rule out the possibility that Worldcoin would charge a fee for providing this service, but the startup primarily plans to make money through the appreciation of its currency. “You distribute a token to as many people as you can,” Blania said. Because of that, the “utility of the token increases dramatically” and the “price of the token increases.”

The key to all of this technology is the Orb itself, and the contract that Orb operators sign underlines the company’s focus on stress-testing it. “Your role is to help us evaluate the Orbs and how people interact with them,” the contract says. “You should think of yourself as a product tester.”

Blania told BuzzFeed News that the company was primarily using its field tests to see how the Orbs performed in different environments — from Kenya’s heat to Norway’s freezing cold. “In Kenya where there was like, 40-degree heat, and just the reflection on the Orb is something we have never seen here in Germany in the office,” Blania said.

Adam Schwartz, a senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the ambiguity about Worldcoin’s goals is troublesome. “The question is, is this a digital currency company, or is this a data broker?” he said. “Either way, the practice at hand, which is paying people for their biometrics, is very problematic to privacy and to equity.”

“Worldcoin is not a data company and our business model does not involve exploiting or selling personal user data. Worldcoin is only interested in a user’s uniqueness ie, that they have not signed up for Worldcoin before — not their identity,” Worldcoin said in a statement.

The company’s efforts to build its database could also run afoul of data privacy and processing laws in Kenya, where the company has extensive operations. Kenya recently passed a data protection law that forbids companies from transferring biometric data abroad without approval from the newly constituted Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. Worldcoin currently processes user data in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and India, according to its data consent form.

Immaculate Kassait, Kenya’s data commissioner, told BuzzFeed News that her office “was not aware” that Worldcoin was collecting the biometric data of Kenyans and transferring it abroad.

The company has until July 14 to register itself with the commission and submit a detailed Data Protection Impact Assessment under Kenya’s newly implemented data privacy laws, Kassait said over email. Worldcoin told BuzzFeed News that the company would soon engage with Kenya’s Data Commission and had already conducted a “rigorous” privacy impact assessment.

Bryan Ford, who heads the Decentralized/Distributed Systems (DEDIS) lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and wrote one of the pioneering papers on proof of personhood in 2008,

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