Sunday, January 1, 2017

The WaPo and Cybersecurity

The Washington Post writer Mike DeBonis had a very interesting article on Trump and cyber security.  The problem was, it wasn't ... If the WaPo was in a hole during the election, why are you digging a deeper hole?  Do you believe by digging a deeper hole it will seem like you're not in a hole?  That if you repeat something enough it will be a fact??

Fact:  IT IS NOT conclusive that the Russians government hacked anything.  There is absolutely NO consensus on this statement.  0.  None.  Nope.  Nada.  And for Democrats to rally around this, shows just how political they have made our national security.  They are less interested in security and more interested in politics.  Sad.  They cannot be trusted with anything more than the keys to the local animal control office.  Even that is too political. 

Fact:  Someone hacked into the DNC.  Wikileaks says it was NOT a Russian.  The person who gave them the information may have actually been a Democrat.

Fact:  What other hacking has occurred, maybe have been done by a Russian, but trying to connect a hacker to Putin .... is a step you should be very careful of.  Do I think Putin a thoughtful and respectful man ... no.  He has ordered the assassination of a number of people or been involved in their murders.  But he is not a hacker.

So, the WaPo political piece starts off ....


"President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned whether critical computer networks can ever be protected from intruders, alarming cybersecurity experts who say his comments could upend more than a decade of national cybersecurity policy and put both government and private data at risk."


Nope.  Nada.  Not at all.

If I was president, I would provide a couple hundred million more for cyber security/hacking/spying, from my own private secret presidential account on top of everything else the cyber spying department already get.  I would support an increase in their budget of 10%, and hire anyone from anonymous and for that matter any other computer criminals in prison, to teach our intel people how to be the best.

But, I would also question whether critical computer networks can ever be protected from intruders ... AND I WOULD NOT BE UPENDING DECADES OF NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY AT ALL!

Wanker

Why?  Because it's true.  They can't.  For all the money we have spent, they can't ensure.  That's a FACT!

The writing and journalistic ability of at least three writers at the WaPo ... are no better than a college newspaper 'journalist'.  In fact, the student journalist has an excuse.








Saturday, December 31, 2016

Predatory Russians UPDATED


The Witch hunt is alive and well in the US.  And Democrats with witless Republicans are chasing after the perpetual enemy of all that is holy - Russia.  Well, at least part of that is true.

And Democrats have to demonize the Russians.  They MUST.  In an ongoing effort to de-legitimize Trump's election, and diminish the reconciliation Trump will manage with Putin (look at how bad the Russians are, how can he be friends with them, they haven't even apologized for x,y,z).

After reading several columns / JV writing bits in the Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times, and Seattle Intelligencer ... I thought we were dealing with an arch-enemy after finishing the last paper.  Diabolical and evil.  The Soviet Union reincarnate.  I was fearful and wanted to hide under my table.  Afraid to look outside that a Russian spy might be lurking at Elliott Bay or under the Needle.

I reminded myself I too had been hacked by the Russian government.  I had a malware installed on my computer and after consulting with a very reliable tech consultant in Colorado, I was informed it was Russian malware and the Russian hackers wanted bitcoins before they gave the code to decrypt the files.  Those damned Russians.  Always hacking computers.  How did they know I was the Green Hornet!

And Kennedy, look what they did to President Kennedy - they murdered him.  Oswald was Russian, his wife was Russian - the Russian government was involved.  Killing our presidents and hacking our elections and electrical grids.  We need to nuke them quick.


Then I climbed out from under the table, stood up, shook off the fear and reminded myself liberal retards had written that rubbish.  Bad people can be Russian, English, French, Egyptian, Saudi, Yemeni, Afghan ... and if you are a bad person, why not head to Nigeria.  Every email scam is Nigerian, and Nigerians buy computers and some of them come from Russia, therefore the Russians are behind every computer scam.

THAT is the level of intelligence being passed off today in the media and by our government.

Retards.

Is Putin innocent of all crimes and misdemeanors?  Nope.  probably should be indicted for something (including ordering assassinations), but not for hacking the electrical system nor the voting system (you want a nearly 100% means of ensuring it won't be hacked - I should get paid for this - STOP with internet or digital, return to days of paper.  It may take a couple days, but the level of corruption will be no higher than the 1960 election.).

Russian policing of their internet is primitive.  The bad guys in Russia are better than the police and if you want to be a bad guy, go to Russia, or not wanting the hassle, route your actions through Russian servers.

What could these 'bad agents' want?  Easy peasey.  MONEY.  Even a Hillary supporter should be able to figure that out.

Find a weak link, sell it to Al Qaida or ISIS (the JV team and not the JV writers at the major media outposts) ... to use against the US.  Could they be Russian citizens?  Possible, but also possible they aren't.


However, in the US, fear feeds fear, especially if you are a fear-monger - AKA Democrats.

From Bloomberg -

Malware code linked to Russian hackers and found on a Vermont electric utility's computer is further evidence of "predatory" steps taken by that country against the U.S., a Vermont Democratic congressman said Saturday.

(so maybe we need 1000 more nukes to help)

 The Burlington Electric Department confirmed Friday it had found on one of its laptops the malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the name Homeland Security has applied to a Russian campaign linked to recent hacks. The company said U.S. utilities were alerted by the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday of the code.

"This attack shows how rampant Russian hacking is. It's systemic, relentless, predatory," Rep. Peter Welch said in a statement. "They will hack everywhere, even Vermont, in pursuit of opportunities to disrupt our country."

(Welch should be retired.  He is a twit, twat, and a fear-monger)

 Welch said the breach also underscores that sanctions President Barack Obama took against Russia this week were warranted. Russia, which has denied hacking U.S. systems, has been accused of interference in the U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts.
Sen. Patrick Leahy said the latest discovery of the malware "goes beyond hackers having electronic joy rides." It is the latest example that state-sponsored Russian hacking is a serious threat, the Vermont Democrat said in a statement Friday.

 (AS I stated above, THEY MUST argue this to discredit Trump, diminish any effort at reconciliation, and carve out a whacking stone they can take a swat at whenever they are feeling hurt)
 
The Washington Post first reported on the Vermont utility's discovery of the malware. Burlington Electric, which is municipally owned, confirmed in an emailed statement to The Associated Press that it detected the malware in a laptop not connected to its grid systems. It said it took "immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials."

....

(and a governor who deserves to be retired also, another fear-monger who knows less about less)

"Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world's leading thugs, (Russian President) Vladimir Putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely upon to support our quality-of-life, economy, health, and safety," the governor (Peter Shumlin)  said in a statement.

 NOW, the coup de grรขs ... "it detected the malware in a laptop not connected to its grid systems."
[emphasis is mine]

Hmmm.  Someone took the laptop home, used it at home, downloaded emails or visited webpages they shouldn't have, received a virus, went to work, plugged it in, and the virus checker found the malware.

It was not connected to the grid, had not been, and the virus it received was separate from and unrelated to the grid or the electric company.  But, when you're a Democrat, you don't need to tell the truth - use it to your advantage and the witless Republicans fall all over themselves like seizure victims.

And these people are the leaders.

Oh dear Lord.  Protect us from the witless and hapless many, who do more to harm the United States than all our foreign enemies combined.



UPDATED:
The Washington Post, without apologizing or calling to task the morons who made ridiculous comments did run a new story about this issue -

"An employee at Burlington Electric Department was checking his Yahoo email account Friday and triggered an alert indicating that his computer had connected to a suspicious IP address associated by authorities with the Russian hacking operation that infiltrated the Democratic Party. "


 But they are sticking with the Russians infiltrating the DNC ... media quoting Democrats quoting other Democrats who quote the media who hear it from one source ...

You are worse than the National Enquirer.  They are respectable. 







Friday, December 30, 2016

I believe ... I believe ...

I believe in love, love, love, love, love!
When you can't see the forest for the trees,
follow the colors of your dreams
just turn to friends their help transcends to love, love, love, love, love

The winter's finally passing on,
the king is back, the queen is gone,
come dance with me cause now we're free to love, love, love, love, love.

(from the movie - Mirror Mirror)

I believe ...

One can believe in LOVE or HATE or one may even believe in leprechauns, but one doesn't believe in science.  Science is not a belief nor is it within the realm of beliefs.  It is.  Simply. Factually.  Without question, science, is.

Hillary Clinton made a big deal, as did her followers, at the Democratic National Convention, that she believed in science.  Patronizing and not true.




The source for the material below is from this link.

What are the facts in the climate science debate?
  • Average global surface temperatures have overall increased for the past 100+ years
  • Carbon dioxide has an infrared emission spectra
  • Humans have been adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
That is pretty much it, in terms of verifiable, generally agreed upon scientific facts surrounding the major elements of climate change debate.

Human caused global warming is a theory. The assertion that human caused global warming is dangerous is an hypothesis.  The assertion that nearly all or most of the warming since 1950 has been caused by humans is disputed by many scientists, in spite of the highly confident consensus statement by the IPCC. The issue of ‘dangerous’ climate change is wrapped up in values, and science has next to nothing to say about this.

Truthiness and factiness abounds in the climate science debate, and the greatest proponents of truthiness and factiness are the climate ‘alarmed’ – their opponents are mostly calling b.s. on their truthiness and factiness.  In slinging around terms like denier, anti-science etc, the defense of climate alarmism in terms of ‘science’ and ‘facts’ starts to become more anti-science than what they are accusing their opponents of.

From the Rational Wiki:

The term “antiscience” refers to persons or organizations that promote their ideology over scientifically-verified evidence, usually either by denying said evidence and/or creating their own. Antiscience positions are promoted especially when political ideology and/or religious dogma conflict with actual science. 

The most glaring ‘factiness’ and anti-science strategy is the linking of extreme weather events to human caused climate change.  Roger Pielke Jr has an eloquent op-ed in the WSJ (unfortunately behind paywall, which I will have more to say about in another post next week).

So . . . who fits the definition of ‘anti-science’?  Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?  Ignoring science (Trump) does not qualify him for ‘anti-science’.  Science does not prescribe public policy.  The political dogma of Obama, Clinton and Pope Francis surrounding climate change seems like more of a recipe for ‘anti-science.’


SO .... to repeat (emphasis is mine) -

"who fits the definition of ‘anti-science’?  Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?  Ignoring science (Trump) does not qualify him for ‘anti-science’.  Science does not prescribe public policy.  The political dogma of Obama, Clinton and Pope Francis surrounding climate change seems like more of a recipe for ‘anti-science.’"


And I would go one step further, and 'defend' or 'explain' Trump, not that he needs it ... he is the President of the United States -

He doesn't ignore science, he simply questions whether humans have much/any impact on climate change. And how much if any.

That is not anti science.  That is not someone who disagrees with science or the facts, he questions how much if any impact humans have.  That would be reasonable to ask.  








Lance Gross: Colorism























This Christmas photograph posted by Lance Gross sparked a social media backlash


Well, I was reading about Rwanda the other day, some light reading (dark humor), and saw this photo as I distracted myself from the genocidal tendencies of other people - Lance Gross, an actor I have never heard of, but I did just now (a couple Tyler Perry films, and The Phenom, Our Family Wedding - none I have ever watched but someone does), was having Christmas in Big Bear this year, as I am assuming he has for many years and had this photo taken of he and 8 other people.

So what is the big deal?

I've already given the answer away, in my light reading list ...

Absurd.  I agree with many comments re this photo.  The worst part for me about the photo is ... he had Christmas in Big Bear, and I didn't.  I'd like the snow again, especially at Christmas.












Tuesday, December 27, 2016

NY Times OP Ed: Sorry Libs ....

Sorry, Liberals. Bigotry Didn’t Elect Donald Trump.


In the Obama era, we also saw that race was not a critical driver of white swing votes. Barack Obama won more support among white men in 2008, including the working class, than any Democrat since 1980.

Mr. Obama’s support among these whites was at its peak in 2008 after the stock market crash. At the depths of the Great Recession that followed, blue-collar white men experienced the most job losses.
Their support began hemorrhaging after Mr. Obama chose early in his presidency — when congressional Democrats could have overcome Republican obstruction — to fight for health care reform instead of a “new New Deal.”

By 2016, Mr. Trump personified the vote against the status quo, one still not working out for them. A post-campaign study comparing the George W. Bush coalition in 2000 to the Trump coalition in 2016 found that Mr. Trump particularly improved in areas hurt most by competition from Chinese imports, from the bygone brick and tile industry of Mason City, Iowa, to the flagging furniture plants of Hickory, N.C. The study concluded that, had the import competition from China been half as large, Mrs. Clinton would have won key swing states and the presidency with them.

This argument does not ignore bigotry. Racism appeared more concentrated among Trump voters. One poll found that four in 10 Trump supporters said blacks were more “lazy” than whites, compared with one-quarter of Clinton or John Kasich supporters.

But traits are not motives and don’t necessarily decide votes. Consider that four in 10 liberal Democrats, the largest share of any group, said in 2011 that they would hold a Mormon candidate’s faith against him or her. It would be silly to argue that, therefore, liberals voted for Mr. Obama because Mitt Romney was Mormon.

Yet the Trump coalition continues to be branded as white backlash. The stereotyping forgets that many Trump supporters held a progressive outlook. Mr. Trump won nearly one in four voters who wanted the next president to follow more liberal policies.

Democrats need only recall Mr. Clinton to understand how voters can support someone in spite of his faults. Mr. Clinton won re-election in 1996 despite a majority, including about a third of liberal voters, saying he was not honest. His approval rating reached the highest point of his presidency during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It wasn’t that Democrats and independents endorsed Mr. Clinton’s behavior. They opposed Republicans more.

Two decades later, we are reminded again that a vote for a presidential candidate is not a vote for every aspect of him. We can look for the worst in our opponents, but that doesn’t always explain how they got the best of us.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Electoral College and Trump

It was a done deal long ago.  And all those whining children ... please, keep in mind, those who loathe Hillary or disliked Obama or Bill ... wished the same thing, but they didn't cry, whine, protest, and riot.

He has been officially sanctioned and now, the best you can do is be responsible, critique when appropriate, and applaud when you must.

Get over it.  Put on your big boy and big girl or zee pants and go to work. 

Good luck!

Afghanistan: Not one more cent!

We have given to the Afghan government and people, over $60 billion.

Not one more cent.  Not a penny.  Not a farthling. Not a Half-Penny.  Not ... anything.








19 December 2016

Quivering with quiet rage, Shirin holds a photo of his teenage brother-in-law, who now lives as the plaything of policemen, just one victim of a hidden epidemic of kidnappings of young boys for institutionalised sexual slavery in Afghanistan.

Shirin is among 13 families AFP traced and interviewed across three Afghan provinces who said their children were taken for the pervasive practice of "bacha bazi", or paedophilic exploitation, in Western-backed security forces.

Their testimonies shine a rare spotlight on the anguished, solitary struggles to free sons, nephews and cousins from a tradition of culturally-sanctioned enslavement and rape.

Shirin recalled how his 13-year-old brother-in-law screamed and writhed as he was taken from his home earlier this year by a police commander in southern Helmand.

"When I begged for his release, his men pointed their guns and said: 'Do you want your family to die? Forget your boy'," Shirin told AFP in Lashkar Gah.

"Our boys are openly abducted for bacha bazi. Where should we go for help? The Taliban?"
The heart-wrenching stories, mostly from Helmand but also from neighbouring Uruzgan and northern Baghlan, were revealed after AFP reported in June how the Taliban are exploiting bacha bazi in police ranks to mount deadly insider attacks.

The report, denied by the insurgents, prompted an Afghan government investigation.
AFP is withholding the names of the victims and the accused police commanders as many of the boys are still being held captive.

- 'Crazed with grief' -

A common theme in the testimonies collected from stricken families was that of helplessness. Their boys were mostly abducted in broad daylight; from their homes, opium farms and playgrounds.
Once taken captive, they can be shuffled among police checkpoints, complicating efforts to trace them.

Sometimes they emerge into the open as policemen flaunt their spoils.

For fathers like Sardarwali, the crushed hope of such an encounter is almost too much to bear.
After months of fruitless searching, he caught a glimpse of his kidnapped son in a crowded marketplace in Helmand's Gereshk district.

The child -- a slight boy who loved nothing better than playing with his siblings -- was dressed in a fine embroidered tunic and wore a bejewelled skull cap.

Sardarwali was desperate to reach out to his son, to hold him -- but did not dare approach the bevy of policemen that surrounded him.

"I watched him disappear into the distance," Sardarwali said.

"His mother is crazed with grief. She cannot stop crying: 'We have lost our son forever.'"

Parents' agony of losing a child to sexual slavery is compounded by concerns that in captivity their boys will become addicted to the opiates some are given to make them submissive.

Worse still, many fear they could be taken to reinforce frontlines, where police are suffering record casualties in their fight against the Taliban.

Or -- as one Helmand family shockingly discovered –- get killed in the crossfire as insurgents over-run the checkpoints where they are held.

Still, some families take grim solace in the knowledge they are not alone. Their villages are full of bacha bazi victims, many discarded when their beards begin to show.

- 'Unconscionable' -

Bacha bazi has seen a chilling resurgence in post-Taliban Afghanistan, where it is not widely perceived as homosexual or un-Islamic behaviour.

Young boys dressed effeminately have an ornamental value in a society where the genders are tightly corralled. Their possession is a mark of social status, power and masculinity.

The practice has spurred a violent culture of one-upmanship within police ranks, as officers jealously compete to snatch the most beautiful boys, said a former top Helmand security official.
"Often the only escape for enslaved bachas is to make a deal with the Taliban: 'Liberate me and I will help you get my abuser's head and weapons'," the official said, referring to insider attacks.

The Afghan government has said it has zero tolerance for child abusers in security ranks.
[Really, so is that why several high ranking members of the previous administration have been directly implicated in this behavior!]
 
But Uruzgan government spokesman Dost Mohammad Nayab acknowledged nearly every provincial checkpoint had a bacha. He fears any move to extricate them could see angry policemen abandoning their posts, paving the way for the Taliban.

"It is difficult to separate policemen from their bachas in this security situation," Nayab said, explaining that police serve as a pivotal first line of defence against insurgents.



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Economic Morass

Trump Election: Retreat from the World

It is true everyone has a right to their opinion, but some opinions are weighted differently than others!

I recall during the election, and immediately thereafter - the inane punditry from the misinformed and uneducated, that Trump would retreat from the world.  Trump would step back from action around the globe and would instead build fortress Americana and relinquish our role in the world.

Do you all recall such drivel?

I do.  It was daily, and in multiple reports.  Sometimes repeated 2-3 times in an article.

And then there was Henry Kissinger.

Not someone you could say was an isolationist.  He was there for some of the most COLD of the Cold War period.  From Vietnam to China to the Soviet Union ... not a Dove by any measure.

Interesting.  With more than 40 years of experience.  Well, on CBS Face the Nation, the former Secretary of State made an insightful comment -


"Donald Trump is a phenomenon that foreign countries haven't seen." 

 
 
 
Hmmm.  Just the opposite of all that drivel we heard.  In fact, an insight for the Obama supporters - he did just what many people claimed he had been doing ... withdrawing from the world, leaving opportunity for disaster.
 
 
 
 
 

Global Warming/Cooling and Change: DiCaprio and the Rest of the Useless Lot

The facts are in and the strange thing about facts is, no matter what you may believe, facts are facts and no rational person can disagree with facts - we can all have an opinion, but we are not entitled to our own facts ...

- global warming, climate change is occurring and no responsible scientist believes otherwise.


I really do like their argument strategy. 

First, state something we all agree with - facts are facts and we are entitled to an opinion but not our own facts.

Second, phrase the statement in such a way that disagreeing with it places you at odds with: reason, science, logic, intelligence, responsibility, decency, humanity ...

Finally, make your claim.

Link them all together and ta da ... who can possibly disagree.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Mr. Earth himself, although I think Mr Gore needs to turn over that mantle to Leo first ... made the following statement at a UN awards ceremony on 12/16/16:

"There are a few, very prominent people that still deny the overwhelming conclusions of the world's scientists that climate change is largely human-caused and needs immediate urgent attention."


Well.  Hmm.  Let's see.

NO ONE I HAVE EVER HEARD OR READ STATEMENTS BY, denies climate change.  No one.  Not even Mr. Trump, although listening to the leftists and their agents for change, you'd think he actually has and did.

Once more - NO ONE denies climate change is occurring.

However, that fact does not equal - human causation.  It's a trick and easily done when you don't pay attention.  We all believe human beings are the top of the chain - every chain, we believe we can make life, control time, space, and gravity ... we have the ability to be gods ... so we must also be able to change the climate on the planet.  If we can't, then we are not the gods we believe we are.

So overwhelming consensus ... I don't know much, but I do know when I want to know something I find the least biased party (and it can be done) and read / listen to what they have to say.

The Father of the Gaia Theory, the original, the first to start us down this path ... the scientist renowned for his work, without which we would just be starting ... I think his analysis and thoughts are especially worth paying attention to. 

If you check back under LABELS and search global warming, you will find the larger article on this subject.  For now, a brief synopsis -

James Lovelock, a British scientist known as the Father of the Gaia Theory argues that approximately 550 gigatonnes of toxic emissions are released into the atmosphere each year.

(A gigatonne is a billion tons, or 550 billion tons)

That is a LOT of toxic emissions or emissions of any kind that contribute toward climate change.

We certainly should cut that down.

Then Lovelock goes on to add ... if every human, car, building, plane, factory, or product built by man was to disappear off the planet tomorrow, that would reduce the total output by 30 gigatonnes.

Climate change cannot be stopped.  It cannot be prevented.  It is an immutable fact - it will occur and there is nothing humans can do to change it.  We play a very small role in the larger order of climate change.

Even if Lovelock is off by 10-20%, human causation is very much in doubt, and any reasonable human being understands that.  What is not in doubt is change will happen as it has since earth's origins.

Lovelock doesn't say give up, instead he suggests we help those people who will be displaced by the rising oceans and temperature changes.

That is something DiCaprio and others haven't figured out yet.

I cannot imagine why they can't or haven't.  It seems self-evident to me.









Children: The Love of a Parent and the Death of a Child



In Yakima Washington,  an 18-month-old boy died when a dresser apparently fell on top of him, according to police.  I cannot imagine the feelings the parents have.  It is beyond imaginable, the pain they feel and endure.  It is an unimaginable pain for the rest of us, and one that never abates, but is embraced.  A parent has a child and would give their life for their child, and to have a dresser or dog, or pool, or anything take the life of that child ... we weep for the child and for the family.  Yet, there are places in the world where the people who give birth to you, raise you, teach you, protect you ... will kill you if they feel slighted.

There is no protection and the people we trust most - our mother and father, end up being the killers.  What do we say about any civilization or culture that tolerates, perpetuates, permits ... this to continue!


In Pakistan, five girls were killed for having fun. Then the story took an even darker twist. 

Washington Post
December 17 at 7:00 AM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — It was just a few seconds, a video clip of several young women laughing and clapping to music, dressed for a party or a wedding in orange headscarves and robes with floral patterns. Then a few more seconds of a young man dancing alone, apparently in the same room.
The cellphone video was made six years ago, in a village deep in Kohistan, a rugged area of northwest Pakistan. It was the last time the young women, known only as Bazeegha, Sareen Jan, Begum Jan, Amina and Shaheen, have ever been definitively seen alive.
What happened to them remains a mystery. Their fates have been shrouded by cultural taboos, official inertia, implacable resistance from elders and religious leaders suspected of ordering their deaths, and elaborate subterfuges by the families who reportedly carried out those orders.
Even in Pakistan, where hundreds of  “honor killings” are reported every year, this case was extreme. According to court filings and interviews with people who investigated it, the families confined the girls for weeks, threw boiling water and hot coals on them, then killed them and buried them somewhere in the Kohistan hills.
Later, when investigators appeared, relatives and community leaders insisted that the girls were still alive and produced a second set of similar-looking girls to prove it. They even disfigured one girl’s thumbprints so she couldn’t be checked against the identity of the victim she was supposed to impersonate.
The story illustrates many of the reasons Pakistani officials have failed to curb the problem of honor killings. These include the cruel sway of traditional tribal councils, known as jirgas, over uneducated villagers; the lengths to which such leaders may go to defy state authority; and the casual worthlessness they assign to the rights, lives and even identities of young women. 
Today, the truth is finally beginning to emerge, mostly through the efforts of a few individuals including Afzal Kohistani, a young man whose brothers were killed as a result of the incident. He spent years seeking help from local and provincial officials, then petitioned the Supreme Court. In 2012, his case was dismissed, but last month the high court reopened it and ordered a new investigation that has produced a chilling report.
“This has destroyed my family. The girls are dead, my brothers have been killed and nothing has been done to bring justice or protect us,” said Kohistani, 26, who has received death threats. “I know I will probably be killed, too, but it doesn’t matter,” he said in an interview last week. “What happened is wrong, and it has to change.”
Renewed judicial interest in these long-ago events coincided with another encouraging development: the passage of a law in Parliament that strengthened judicial powers in honor-killing cases. Often, even when such crimes manage to reach the courts, there is no punishment because the law allows victims’ families to “forgive” the perpetrators — who are often their own relatives.  
The new law, passed in October, gives judges more ammunition to impose life sentences for honor killings in extreme circumstances, allowing them to overrule personal deals by making the murder a crime against the state. But supporters fear that cultural and political resistance will continue to prevent justice being done.
“We don’t know yet whether the law will make much difference. Punishment is still not mandatory, and forgiveness can still negate justice,” said Benazir ­Jatoi, a lawyer who works on women’s rights. “Until there is more political will, I don’t think the lives of ordinary women threatened with honor violence will change.”
The Kohistan case unfolded in a conservative rural region where social mingling between genders is taboo. The girls’ participation in a coed singing party was risky enough, but someone posted the video on the Internet, where it spread rapidly, bringing shame on their community before the vast virtual world. 
The mingling of young men and women at a village singing party, along with the spread of this video, was considered a dishonor to their community in a conservative rural region of Pakistan. (TWP)
The head of the local jirga, a Muslim cleric, allegedly issued a religious decree ordering the five girls to be killed for dishonoring their tribe, along with the boy seen dancing and every member of his family. There was no resistance from the community. After the girls were disposed of, several brothers of the boy were also caught and killed. The rest of the family, including Kohistani, fled the area.
There things stood for more than a year. No crimes were reported, and no one came to investigate. Kohistani, a college graduate from one of the area’s wealthier families, said he repeatedly approached local and provincial officials, reporting the killings and seeking protection, but was chided for opposing the jirga’s verdict. 
“No one in my district or my province has ever spoken against honor killing. They tell me I have defamed my culture, my religion, my tribe,” Kohistani said this month. “Everybody knows what happened, but no one is ready to come forward. This is an illegal, unconstitutional and un-Islamic tradition, but people don’t even consider it a crime.”
With assistance from a lawyer in Islamabad, Kohistani appealed directly to the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, a liberal activist, personally took up the case in 2012 and ordered two fact-finding missions sent to the remote area by helicopter.  
When the visitors demanded to see the girls, their families at first refused but eventually presented three girls and said they were the ones in the video. The three delegates had no chance to speak to the girls in private, but they compared their faces with images from the video. Two were convinced of the likenesses; the third, Farzana Bari, said she had doubts. 
“I was upset and confused. We had no translators who knew their dialect, and everyone there insisted these were the same girls,” recounted Bari, an academic in Islamabad. “When we got back the second time, I filed a dissenting report, but the judge closed the case. I still feel terrible.”
After that, life in the village apparently returned to normal for several years. One journalist sent photos of both groups of girls to analysts in England, who found only a 14 percent chance they were the same individuals. That evidence was taken to a provincial court, but it declined to take action. Kohistani, in the interview, named each of the original girls and their replacements, who he said were similar-looking sisters, cousins and sisters-in-law. 
Finally, last month, Kohistani’s crusade got an unexpected break when the Supreme Court, under a new chief justice, agreed to accept his petition. Once more, a fact-finding mission was sent to the village. This time, it included a district judge and two police officers, armed with government ID records with the heights and thumbprints of the missing girls. 
What they encountered was hair-raising. 
In his report afterward, Kohistan Judge Shoaib Khan said the village elders were “unanimous” in insisting that the girls were alive. But two of the girls they produced were much younger than the victims, according to their official birth dates. A third could not be identified because both thumbs had been burned; her parents insisted that it was from a cooking accident. He concluded that at least two girls did not match the ones in the video and that the others were probably also impostors.
“All this leads to the suspicious conclusion that something is wrong at bottom,” Khan wrote. The case, he advised, “needs exhaustive inquiry.”
On a recent day, Kohistani, wearing a conservative suit and carrying a copy of the judge’s report, walked up to the Supreme Court. He smiled slightly as he shook hands with his attorney, and they went inside to wait for the next hearing. 


Make Mine Freedom - 1948


American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.