Monthly Archives: October 2016

Voices From The Low Country – What Defines Fulfillment?

43In considering a topic for my next column in the Mercury, I visualized light and uplifting discourse infused with humor and cheerful wit. For those who managed to peruse my previous work, it should be fairly obvious that I am creatively inspired by life’s trials and tribulations. This time around, I was determined to switch gears and invoke laughter from the reader.

“I really CAN do this” I thought, as I embarked on a creative journey with my yellow legal pad and pen in tow, in search of lighthearted themes and imagery, eager to transform my typically intense and melancholy writer’s voice into a sonata of airy optimism. I humbly admit that I have fashioned yet another poignant narrative capable of moving even the crustiest, most cynical and jaded of copy editors to tears. I have resigned myself to the fact that I am incapable of writing about anything joyous. I am blissfully challenged as an author; hopelessly captivated by the profound and complex side of human nature.

Perhaps it is the psychologist in me that gravitates towards human complexity. However in all fairness, I must assign at least part of the blame to the authentic, brave and warmhearted individuals who agreed to share their heartfelt stories with an inquisitive and sweaty stranger (this Mercury writer was foolish enough to pose as a roving reporter when a different type of mercury was climbing to a blistering 100 degrees).

Suffering from a classic case of writer’s block and chronic procrastination that I choose to blame on heat exhaustion, I decided to abandon my writing agenda and venture towards the nearest Starbucks for a late afternoon coffee break. As I sat sipping my grande iced latte and luxuriating in my escape from the inferno blazing outside, I found myself engaged in an impromptu conversation with a genteel and highly expressive older gentleman.

This random stranger shared heartfelt words of wisdom and inadvertently liberated my previously blocked creative voice. He said most young people make the unfortunate mistake of forsaking precious opportunities for adventure, spontaneity and carefree exuberance in favor of a relentless pursuit of material wealth. He suggested that material wealth becomes worthless once a person is too old to enjoy it, and he said now reflecting back on his life, he finds peace and fulfillment not in material possessions like the sailboat he is fortunate enough to live aboard, rather fond memories of his youth. He joked about how most people are too old to enjoy a boat like his, by the time they finally save enough money to afford it. He urged me to enjoy the present moment, and have fun now while am still young enough to experience life. By the time he left, I was tempted to purchase a one-way ticket to Bora Bora.

I began feverishly recording details of my encounter with this older man of wisdom and decided to interview local people in various stages of life and by asking each person to imagine the same scenario: Traveling years into the future, looking back on life, and asking the future self whether inner peace and fulfillment were found.

Nearly delirious from wandering around in the blazing sun and desperate to find another air conditioned venue, I stumbled into a kiddie gym and found a handful of heat stricken moms apparently seeking a cool reprieve for stir crazy rug rats. Feeling like a skunk emerging from a sewer, I pleaded for a mom to acquiesce to an interview about pivotal life choices and the definition of fulfillment. It was here that I heard the story of Audrey, a 34 year-old stay at home mom, former teacher, and mother of two young boys.

Audrey lost her father on United Flight 93; hers was one of the many families torn apart by 9/11. Approximately one week before the birth of her first child, Audrey’s father left California for a brief business trip, promising to return home in time for the birth of his grandson. Although Audrey’s children never knew their grandfather in his physical form, she finds comfort in believing that their connected souls might have crossed paths somehow, in that great space between here and there.

Through her pain and despair, Audrey has found comfort in her faith and the grounding influence of prayer. She honors the memory of her father by devoting herself to her family, walking the path of god, and striving to provide her children with the legacy of their grandfather’s love and strong sense of family values. She described standing at life’s crossroads several years ago, when faced with the decision of whether to relocate to Charleston with her husband, leaving behind the familiar comforts of home, family, and friends in California, or risk her marriage by staying behind. When asked how she found her way through the fog of ambivalence and confusion, Audrey replied that she turned to prayer and did right by her marriage and family. Audrey claims she is a woman who has found peace and fulfillment through faith and family, and she is pleased with her life choices.

Next, I stumbled into the Dog and Duck and found myself sitting across from Clinton, a 35 year-old divorced and soon to be re-married beer salesman welcoming the start of his weekend with some buddies and a cold beer. Clinton is the father of two children and a former education major who abandoned his studies following a physical injury. Like Audrey, Clinton found himself standing at life’s crossroads when faced with a decision between returning to school to complete his education or maintain the comfortable lifestyle his well paying job afforded him. He admitted that although he enjoys his material comforts, he regrets his choice of not returning to school to complete his education. Clinton does not feel he is “paying a debt to society” through the work he has chosen, and he hopes his children will one day follow their true passion rather than the path of least resistance. He said the success of his children will be his “measuring stick” for his life’s fulfillment and stated, “I feel like I held myself back due to my monetary values”.

My final stop was Hassie’s makeshift newsstand on the corner of 17 North and Houston Northcutt. Familiar to most Lowcountry residents for his unyielding stamina and constant presence on the same street corner, Hassie, age 56, has inspired many writers over the years. With a degree in computer technology and former career as a college professor, Hassie has survived the loss of a son, two divorces, and caring for his elderly mother. A family oriented man and father of three children, Hassie defines fulfillment as his ability to watch his children grow and stay healthy. He values solid ethics, spirituality, and family relationships. Recently, he has experienced a deeper connection with his aging mother. Hassie exclaimed, “My biggest accomplishment in life is my healthy children. I am happy because I am alive and not in any situation that I can’t get out of”. When asked how he finds the strength to endure standing on his feet in the relentless heat for hours every day, he replied, “You cannot ascribe if you don’t survive”. He threw his head back and laughed, stating that part of his secret to happiness was “getting rid of the wives”. When speaking of his love for his children, Hassie stated, “They know I am always there for them; as long as they don’t call me collect, everything is fine”.

I venture to guess that the prevailing perspective of these four very distinct Lowcountry residents on life fulfillment and inner peace is probably an accurate reflection of the sentiment of our society as a whole. Strong family values, healthy children, faith, honor, physical health and the capacity to enjoy the present moment, seem to take precedence over material wealth and the accumulation of physical possessions. These four Lowcountry residents taught me that it is not the inevitable loss, trauma, hardship or despair we humans must endure over the course of life that blocks our path to fulfillment, rather, how we emerge from these events, our ongoing ability to persist in the face of adversity, and our willingness to celebrate the blessings that remain in front of us. In parting, always remember Hassie’s prudent motto:” You cannot ascribe if you don’t survive”.

Guide to Digital Forensics

42Computer forensics or digital forensics is a term in computer science to obtain legal evidence found in digital media or computers storage. With digital forensic investigation, the investigator can find what happened to the digital media such as emails, hard disk, logs, computer system, and the network itself. In many case, forensic investigation can produce how the crime could happened and how we can protect ourselves against it next time.

Some reasons why we need to conduct a forensic investigation: 1. To gather evidences so that it can be used in court to solve legal cases. 2. To analyze our network strength, and to fill the security hole with patches and fixes. 3. To recover deleted files or any files in the event of hardware or software failure

In computer forensics, the most important things that need to be remembered when conducting the investigation are:

1. The original evidence must not be altered in anyways, and to do conduct the process, forensic investigator must make a bit-stream image. Bit-stream image is a bit by bit copy of the original storage medium and exact copy of the original media. The difference between a bit-stream image and normal copy of the original storage is bit-stream image is the slack space in the storage. You will not find any slack space information on a copy media.

2. All forensic processes must follow the legal laws in corresponding country where the crimes happened. Each country has different law suit in IT field. Some take IT rules very seriously, for example: United Kingdom, Australia.

3. All forensic processes can only be conducted after the investigator has the search warrant.

Forensic investigators would normally looking at the timeline of how the crimes happened in timely manner. With that, we can produce the crime scene about how, when, what and why crimes could happened. In a big company, it is suggested to create a Digital Forensic Team or First Responder Team, so that the company could still preserve the evidence until the forensic investigator come to the crime scene.

First Response rules are: 1. Under no circumstances should anyone, with the exception of Forensic Analyst, to make any attempts to recover information from any computer system or device that holds electronic information. 2. Any attempt to retrieve the data by person said in number 1, should be avoided as it could compromise the integrity of the evidence, in which became inadmissible in legal court.

Based on that rules, it has already explained the important roles of having a First Responder Team in a company. The unqualified person can only secure the perimeter so that no one can touch the crime scene until Forensic Analyst has come (This can be done by taking photo of the crime scene. They can also make notes about the scene and who were present at that time.

Steps need to be taken when a digital crimes occurred in a professional way: 1. Secure the crime scene until the forensic analyst arrive.

2. Forensic Analyst must request for the search warrant from local authorities or company’s management.

3. Forensic Analyst make take a picture of the crime scene in case of if there is no any photos has been taken.

4. If the computer is still powered on, do not turned off the computer. Instead, used a forensic tools such as Helix to get some information that can only be found when the computer is still powered on, such as data on RAM, and registries. Such tools has it’s special function as not to write anything back to the system so the integrity stay intake.

5. Once all live evidence is collected, Forensic Analyst cant turned off the computer and take harddisk back to forensic lab.

6. All the evidences must be documented, in which chain of custody is used. Chain of Custody keep records on the evidence, such as: who has the evidence for the last time.

7. Securing the evidence must be accompanied by legal officer such as police as a formality.

8. Back in the lab, Forensic Analyst take the evidence to create bit-stream image, as original evidence must not be used. Normally, Forensic Analyst will create 2-5 bit-stream image in case 1 image is corrupted. Of course Chain of Custody still used in this situation to keep records of the evidence.

9. Hash of the original evidence and bit-stream image is created. This acts as a proof that original evidence and the bit-stream image is the exact copy. So any alteration on the bit image will result in different hash, which makes the evidences found become inadmissible in court.

10. Forensic Analyst starts to find evidence in the bit-stream image by carefully looking at the corresponding location depends on what kind of crime has happened. For example: Temporary Internet Files, Slack Space, Deleted File, Steganography files.

11. Each evidence found must be hashed as well, so the integrity stay intake.

12. Forensic Analyst will create a report, normally in PDF format.

13. Forensic Analyst send the report back to the company along with fees.

I Am the Proud Granddaughter of an Immigrant

41I think back to many years ago compared to know and how things have changed from one generation to the next. What if a decision to leave a country was the best decision that has been made?

If my grandfather was not as brave and eager for a better future in America, there would be one less advertising graduate, one less clothing store, and one less student in my family. If there weren’t so many eager young individuals thriving for a better future by giving their energy, their youth, strength and love for this country, America would have known cease to exist the way it does now.

The America I see now is in gratitude to my grandfather and the many individuals who strived long ago in the fields of our past. I am thankful for both of my parents and family in pushing me to pursue my dreams and being a role model in always pursuing a better tomorrow. They pursued the better tomorrow knowing they would only receive the smallest of benefits from their hard work.

Today I am an evidence of that dream.

At a very young age my grandfather left the life of poverty under a dictatorship in Cuba for the promise of a new life in the United States. My grandfather then came to the United States and worked in order to provide education for himself at the University of Miami.

Unlike my grandfather, I was born into a life with a life to dream and pursue in whatever my heart desired. A country with endless possibilities, where the sky was the limit and where there was hope for future myself and for future generations to come.

I am thankful that I had a very humble upbringing, with only one sister. One of the most important things that I was taught since a young age was the importance of having an education. My childhood was filled with the joys of laughter, love and belief in God.

My parents created a paradise in a modest, four bedroom home in the beautiful city of Miami, Florida.

Even though I may have been born in the United States, my family has raised me in a Cuban way. Even though it may be difficult trying to meet friends who understand the same rules the way Cuban decent parents are, and the way they have raised you, there are still many people who can relate to you.

I am forever grateful to have been born and raised into the United States as an American due to one decision that was made by my grandfather.

Its Strength and Weakness

40India was ruled by the British for a very long time and that is a primary reason why the Indian judiciary has so much influence from the British laws. After India got its independence, there was a need to pen down the laws, rules and regulations that the Indian citizens needed to follow in order to maintain a proper life. That is why the Indian Constitution was created and it was the rule book for India. Be it the penalty for a crime, or the code of conduct in the court rooms, the Constitution mentions everything specifically about the Indian judiciary.

Now, there are a few things that are specific about the Judiciary in India. Firstly, it is independent of the legislature and the executive body of the Indian government. To put it simply, no other office can influence the decision or the actions of the legal system. That means, that even if it is a minister who is guilty of a crime, he/she will be tried in the court without any exception. Then, there is also a hierarchy about the courts in this system. Right on top is the Supreme Court that is the ultimate place for an appeal. When all other courts have announced their decision and people are still not satisfied, they appear before this court. Next come the high court in each state followed by the district courts. People present all sorts of problems that they may have before the courts. Be it land dispute, family problems like divorces, theft and burglary, or even murder, the Indian courts are equipped to handle everything.

In spite of being a well knit system, there are quite a few problems of the Indian law and judiciary. The main problem is the number of pending cases. Probably owing to the population, there are more cases in proportion to the number of courts. In some places, the decision is so delayed that a person convicted for a crime was sentenced 13 years after the case went to court. Due to the overwhelming number of cases, there are delays in decisions and that is what makes the process problematic.

As one would say justice delayed is justice denied, this is the situation in most cases. Then again, due to the influence of the British rules that are quite old, criminals find many loop holes. For example if a boy under 18 molests or rapes a woman, he is not given capital sentence because he is a minor. However, the fact that adult crimes require adult punishments should be treated more seriously. With these amendments, the Indian judiciary can become more efficient and hand-on. A little improvement will go a long way to maintain peace and order in the country.

One Law for The Rich, and Another for First Nations

39Presumed innocent until proven guilty. A very noble statement and one that the legal professions of all Commonwealth countries – including New Zealand – would like you to believe that they honour AT ALL TIMES…

That is, unless, you happen to be involved in peaceful activities of a First Nation.

I am going to take some time here to define what exactly a First Nation consists of, and what their rights are as defined by the United Nations.

Many people will ask at this point – ‘What on Earth is a First Nation?’ Well, First Nations are defined as the indigenous peoples who were first known to live in a country (Live as opposed to ‘occupy’). These include millions of North American ‘Native – not Indian’ Tribes, South Americans, Aborigines across Australia and Maoris across New Zealand, Hawaiians, Kogi Indians in Colombia, and many, many more.

When the colonising countries of the world (mainly England, France, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Portugal and so forth), started to explore the ‘New World’ in search of power, prestige, military strength, raw materials such as gold, timber, food and latterly oil, the original inhabitants were in many instances, treated as almost an irrelevance, and in Australia for instance, until as late as the 1960’s Aboriginal natives could be shot by farmers. A supposed First World country, where the law allowed a farmer to shoot a man through the head, simply because he was foraging for food for his family? How barbaric is that?

The Spanish in their mad desire for gold and silver, virtually exterminated whole First Nations (remember the Aztecs?)

The original relationship between many colonising powers and the First Nation people there was expressed in treaties. Both recognized one another as nations. First Nations agreed to share the land and live side by side with the newcomers, but they would never supposedly stand in each other’s way or impose their systems or values on one another.

It was a relationship founded on mutual recognition, respect and sharing. A grand gesture, but however, in nearly every case, these ‘treaties’ turned out to be very one-sided and biased affair. In many cases, when the ‘low life’ started arriving from the colonising countries, so many crooked deals and thefts took place, with no real redress from the legal dictates of the occupying power, that treaties themselves became very much a one-way documents. Honoured almost in every event only by the First Nation, with breach after breach by the colonising powers.

With the Maori Nation, in particular, the Treaty of Waitangi in 1842 was supposed to create a legal framework for the coexistence of the Maori First Nation, and the English Colonial Powers. However, even after over 160 years, the New Zealand Government still stands virtually in contempt of the Treaty of Waitangi, even though the United Nations Declaration on defining the rights of Indigenous people was passed on 13th September 2007 (of which New Zealand actually signed a year later), Maoris still live in the main as a second class level of citizens in their own land, with poor health facilities, poor schooling, and high levels of unemployment.

In 2002, a blood line chief, His Excellency Chief Charles Hohepa, was selected (not elected) by the Maori Council of Chiefs, to be the Sovereign Mandate of the Maori People, and Head of the Matua Karanga Foundation, an organisation set up by the Council of Chiefs that pre-dates the Treaty of Waitangi.

It is important to note here, that the clearly defined aims of the Matua Karanga Foundation (MKF) is a humanitarian organisation determined to bring about true peace and harmony across all nations, regardless of race, creed, colour or religion. It is also adamant in its support for the United Nations 8 Millennium Goals.

Now we come to the real crux of this current ongoing legal battle being waged in New Zealand’s courts since 2002 no less, and this is where the difference in support between a First Nation Maori and the established Colonial power seems to have become blatantly exposed to the whole world.

We have here a situation where the person selected by the Confederation of Maori Chiefs, His Excellency Chief Charles Hohepa, is being accused of, and at present stands convicted by a New Zealand court, of breach of trust as a trustee, and in effect fraudulently converting the proceeds of the sale of a church. If you do a Google search using the words “chief charles hohepa eden refuge and others” you will probably see items like ‘Litigation crooks’ come up in your search. Interestingly, or at least when I last did this search, you will see a link, usually No, 1 on the page labelled “Warning – Becoming A Trustee Can Seriously Damage Your Wealth”. This is an article written by me – and I will now try and explain its relevance. You can Google this title to read the document.

This article was written, based around the affidavit submitted to the court by Chief Charles Hohepa, (but subsequently rejected by the court) and it actually describes in very great detail what had been happening to this small religious Mission since its inception in 1962. Once you have read this, then you would be very quickly able to see that the people who brought this action – The Eden Refuge Trust – had no legal claim whatsoever against the sole surviving Trustee of the Peoples In Worship Mission – none other than Chief Charles Hohepa

Bearing in mind, we are talking about the Head of the Maori First Nation here, versus a small band of people purporting to be a religious group that they would seem not to be.

On Chief Charles Hohepa’s side – the FIRST NATION – we have a very unswerving person in the presence of Chief Charles, who has carried out his duties as the sole surviving Trustee of the PWF since 1982, repelling many attacks – both physical and legal – from the Eden Refuge Trust. Unfortunately the New Zealand Attorney General has thought it fit to remove Chief Charles from the post of Sole Trustee for the PWF, so what hope now for their future existence and or expansion now that their Champion has been removed from office?

We have a Court Judge that refuses to accept Chief Charles’s defence affidavit as valid evidence, (it was signed in 2006 by the Office of the New Zealand Commissioner to Spain) and refuses the offer by The Chief the opportunity to appear by video link to present his evidence. (At the time The Chief was struggling with a debilitating eye infection and in need of major hip surgery).

On the Plaintiff’s side, the Colonial Power, we have a group calling themselves both the Eden Refuge Trust, and at times the Peoples in Worship Mission.

We have a Judge who allows the Plaintiffs to alter their evidence at least 5 times before they got it as they wanted it.

First Nation versus Occupying Power…

There is an appeal under way, but the character of His Excellency Chief Charles Hohepa remains damaged by these lengthy and drawn out legal skirmishes, and is detracting from the whole objective of the Matua Karanga Foundation – to promote World Peace.

How long can this alleged travesty of justice continue?