Fed Gov Spent $76 Billion in 2017 for Cyber Security, Fail v Success

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Go here for the Forum Part One

Go here for the Forum Part Two

Fascinating speakers from private industry, state government and the Federal government describe where we are, the history on cyber threats and how fast, meaning hour by hour the speed at which real hacks, intrusions or compromise happens.

David Hoge of NSA’s Threat Security Operations Center for non-classified hosts worldwide describes the global reach of NSA including the FBI, DHS and the Department of Defense.

When the Federal government spends $76 billion in 2017 and we are in much the same condition today as we were then, Hoge stays awake at night.

With North Korea in the news constantly, FireEye published a report in 2017 known as APT37 (Reaper): The Overlooked North Korea Actor. North Korea is hardly the worst actor. Others include Russia, China, Iran and proxies.

Targeting: With North Korea primarily South Korea – though also Japan, Vietnam and the Middle East – in various industry verticals, including chemicals, electronics, manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, and healthcare.

Initial Infection Tactics: Social engineering tactics tailored specifically to desired targets, strategic web compromises typical of targeted cyber espionage operations, and the use of torrent file-sharing sites to distribute malware more indiscriminately.

Exploited Vulnerabilities: Frequent exploitation of vulnerabilities in Hangul Word Processor (HWP), as well as Adobe Flash. The group has demonstrated access to zero-day vulnerabilities (CVE-2018-0802), and the ability to incorporate them into operations.

Command and Control Infrastructure: Compromised servers, messaging platforms, and cloud service providers to avoid detection. The group has shown increasing sophistication by improving their operational security over time.

Malware: A diverse suite of malware for initial intrusion and exfiltration. Along with custom malware used for espionage purposes, APT37 also has access to destructive malware.

More information on this threat actor is found in our report, APT37 (Reaper): The Overlooked North Korean Actor.

Beyond NSA, DHS, as with other agencies, has cyber divisions. The DHS cyber strategy is found here. The fact sheet has 5 pillars:

Goal 1: Assess Evolving Cybersecurity Risks.
We will understand the evolving national cybersecurity risk posture to inform and prioritize risk management activities.
Goal 2: Protect Federal Government Information Systems.
We will reduce vulnerabilities of federal agencies to ensure they achieve an adequate level of cybersecurity.
Goal 3: Protect Critical Infrastructure.
We will partner with key stakeholders to ensure that national cybersecurity risks are adequately managed.
Goal 4: Prevent and Disrupt Criminal Use of Cyberspace.
We will reduce cyber threats by countering transnational criminal organizations and sophisticated cyber criminals.
Goal 5: Respond Effectively to Cyber Incidents.
We will minimize consequences from potentially significant cyber incidents through coordinated community-wide response efforts.
Goal 6: Strengthen the Security and Reliability of the Cyber Ecosystem.
We will support policies and activities that enable improved global cybersecurity risk management.
Goal 7: Improve Management of DHS Cybersecurity Activities.
We will execute our departmental cybersecurity efforts in an integrated and prioritized way.

Related reading:National Protection and Programs Directorate

NPPD’s vision is a safe, secure, and resilient infrastructure where the American way of life can thrive.  NPPD leads the national effort to protect and enhance the resilience of the nation’s physical and cyber infrastructure.

*** Going forward as devices are invented and added to the Internet and rogue nations, along with criminal actors, the industry is forecasted to expand with experts and costs.

Research reveals in its new report that organizations are expected to increase spending on IT security by almost 9% by 2018 to safeguard their cyberspaces, leading to big growth rates in the global markets for cyber security.

The cyber security market comprises companies that provide products and services to improve security measures for IT assets, data and privacy across different domains such as IT, telecom and industrial sectors.

The global cyber security market should reach $85.3 billion and $187.1 billion in 2016 and 2021, respectively, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.0%. The American market, the largest segment, should grow from $39.5 billion in 2016 to $78.0 billion by 2021, demonstrating a five-year CAGR of 14.6%. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow the fastest among all major regions at a five-year CAGR of 21.4%, due to stringent government policies to mitigate cyber threats, and a booming IT industry.

Factors such as the growing complexity and frequency of threats, increasing severity of cyber security, stringent government regulations and compliance requirements, ubiquity of online communication, digital data and social media cumulatively should drive the market. Moreover, organizations are expected to increase IT spending on security solutions and services, as well. Rising adoption of technologies such as Internet of things, evolution of big data and cloud computing, increasing smartphone penetration and the developing market for mobile and web platforms should provide ample opportunities for vendors.

By solution type, the banking and financial segment generated the most revenue in 2015 at $22.2 billion. However, the defense and intelligence segment should generate revenues of $50.7 billion in 2021 to lead all segments. The healthcare sector should experience substantial growth with an anticipated 16.2% five-year CAGR.

Network security, which had the highest market revenue in 2015 based on solution type, should remain dominant through the analysis period. Substantial growth is anticipated in the cloud security market, as the segment is expected to have a 27.2% five-year CAGR, owing to increasing adoption of cloud-based services across different applications.

“IT security is a priority in the prevailing highly competitive environment,” says BCC Research analyst Basudeo Singh. “About $100 billion will be spent globally on information security in 2018, as compared with $76.7 billion in 2015.”


The Rainbow Coalition Part 6: From the Maoist ‘New Progressive Majority’ to Steve Phillips’ ‘New American Majority’

By: Trevor Loudon | New Zeal

Part 5 here.

The modern Democratic Party espouses the same policies as did the 1980’s “League of Revolutionary Struggle.” Identity politics, mass voter registration, opposition to strict voter ID laws and calls for the abolition of the Electoral College.

Steve Phillips, Nacy Pelosi with “Brown is the New White”

Steve Phillips and his Power PAC+ are working to create a “New American Majority.” Steve Phillips explains in his 2016 New York Times bestseller “Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority”(endorsed by Barack Obama and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi), that demographic changes have already made “progressives” the majority in America.

From the Amazon blurb:

Despite the abundant evidence from Obama’s victories proving that the U.S. population has fundamentally changed, many progressives and Democrats continue to waste millions of dollars chasing white swing voters. Explosive population growth of people of color in America over the past fifty years has laid the foundation for a New American Majority consisting of progressive people of color (23 percent of all eligible voters) and progressive whites (28 percent of all eligible voters). These two groups make up 51 percent of all eligible voters in America right now, and that majority is growing larger every day.

Phillips’ case is the Democrats can win (permanently) if they stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convert white swing voters (and Trump supporters) to the blue column. Instead Phillips argues that money would be far better spent hiring thousands of voter registration and Get Out The Vote activists to work among the “progressive base” – Blacks, Latinos, Asian, Muslims, Native American, “poor whites” and other racial, sexual and economic minorities.

Stacey Abrams, Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, and a long time Steve Phillips/PowerPAC+ protege, puts it this way:

“We spend a lot of time trying to convince atheists to be Catholics rather than just getting Baptists to go to church”

Abrams just beat her well-funded primary opponent 76% to 23%.

This pie graph explains Phillips’s arguement.

In “Brown is the New White,” Phillips explains further why the left has grounds for optimism:

Most of the attention paid to the country’s changing demographics focuses on the trends showing that Whites will one day be a minority of America’s population. Many articles and analyses look to a distant date when the United States will become a “majority minority” nation. According to the most recent census projections, that year is expected to be 2044.

There are two major problems with emphasizing the point when Whites will lose their majority status. First, it presumes that all White people are and will continue to be at odds with all people of color, which is untrue and unfounded. A meaningful minority of Whites have always sided with people of color throughout U.S. history.

The second problem is that the focus on 2044 overlooks the equation that’s been hiding in plain sight, one that shows what happens when you add together the number of today’s people of color (the vast majority of whom are progressive) and progressive Whites. It’s this calculation that reveals that America has a progressive, multiracial majority right now that has the power to elect presidents and reshape American politics, policies, and priorities for decades to come. Not in 2044. Not ten years down the road. Today.

This is why the left so fear President Trump. Under Obama, the left was on the verge of creating a permanent American ‘one party state’. President Hillary Clinton would have surely finished the job.

If President Trump is successful, if he can stop illegal immigration, keep lowering taxes and bring back American jobs and industry, and “Make America Great Again,” the Democrat strategy collapses. If even a small percentage of Blacks, Latinos, Asian and “poor white” voters move over to the red column, the Democrats could be decimated.

Does that explain the never-ending Democrat vitriol and obstruction? Democratic Party survival is at stake here.

Steve Phillips’ strategy is not new. It comes straight from Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition and before that from the pro-China League of Revolutionary Struggle.

At Stanford University, Steve Phillips was a self-declared Marxist-Leninist and a regular contributor to the LRS’ Unity newspaper. He was also a leader of the LRS’ successor organization, the Unity Organizing Committee.

Phillips’ PowerPAC+ board is stacked with former LRS and Unity Organizing Committee members.

Stanford University student newspaper The Stanford Daily, exposed the LRS in a series of articles in May 1990. In one May 23 article: “League has played little-known role in campus politics” by senior staff writer Michael Friedly, Steve Phillips was accused of actively working with and recruiting for the League. One alleged recruitee, Stanford activist Ingrid Nava, was specifically mentioned.

(Ingrid) Nava lived briefly at a house on Bryant Street in Palo Alto known sarcastically by some progressive students as the “Revolutionary Hotel,” where recruitment for the League has occurred, according to sources who say they have been recruited. (Elsa) Tsutaoka and Steven Phillips, a former BSU (Black Student Union) chair and current Daily multicultural editor who has allegedly recruited for the League, currently live in the house. Phillips recruited Nava beginning in September, according to a student who was also recruited by the League. Phillips said he had no knowledge of the League’s involvement at Stanford and has not recruited for the organization

Ingrid Nava went on to join the Unity organizing Committee and today serves on the board of Steve Phillips’ PowerPAC+.

But there is another Steve Phillips/LRS connection. A very important one.

November 16, 1984, just after Ronald Reagan had won a second term, The LRS’ Unity published a small article, “The New Progressive Majority.”

Read it. See if it at all sounds familiar.

Unity November 16, 1984

If present voter registration rates are increased and voter turnout can go from the present 56% to 85% of all eligible voters, a new progressive electoral majority on a national level can be forged. According to a state-by-state statistical analysis done by Unity (see October 12, 1984 issue), an average of 36.2% of the white vote in 20 states and the District of Columbia, combined with high percentages of the minority vote, would constitute and electoral college majority.

For instance, in Mississippi, just over 25% of the white vote would be needed, together with 95% of the Black vote, to win an electoral majority in that state. In Texas, 36.9% of the white vote would be needed, in addition to 95% of the Black vote, 75% of the Latino vote, and 65% of the Native American Indian and Asian American vote, to win a majority of the votes in that state.

To reach that number of  registered voters and to ensure such a high turnout, especially of oppressed nationality voters, voter registration must be simplified and made easier, and there must be a strong program and inspiring campaign.  In addition, if the electoral college can be abolished, and the president be elected solely by popular vote, chances for victory by a progressive candidate in presidential elections will increase.

Is Steve Phillips’ “New American majority” just a re-vamp of the League of Revolutionary Struggles’ “New Progressive Majority?”

Remember, this was written thirty-four years ago by a 3,000 member Maoist sect – which folded in 1990.

That said, the League of Revolutionary Struggle was the backbone of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, which in turn gave us the Obama movement.

The modern Democratic Party espouses the same policies as did the 1980’s League of Revolutionary Struggle. Unrelenting identity politics, mass voter registration, opposition to strict voter ID laws and calls for the abolition of the Electoral College. Little has changed, except the demographics have moved considerably in the left’s favor since 1984. Deliberate encouragement of illegal immigration and massive increases in legal third world immigration have seen to that.

Steve Phillips and his PowerPAC+ colleagues were involved in the League of Revolutionary Struggle, the Rainbow Coalition and the Obama movement. Now they are active in the highest levels of the Democratic Party.

Is it any wonder that we are seeing some policy continuity here?

Look for Part 7 coming soon: “Democracy in Color and ‘Return of the Majority: A Roadmap for Taking Back Our Country’”

A book entitled: “The Rainbow Conspiracy” will be released in October 2018.


House Republicans Are Scrambling As November Approaches

By: Jim Simpson | The Daily Caller

Our flawed immigration system is one of the most pressing problems facing our nation today. The flood of illegals continuing to pour across our borders poses threats to our national security and brings an epidemic of crime, drugs, disease and countless other problems while border agencies are limited in their response.

Then-candidate Trump promised to build a wall to thwart illegal immigration and demanded legislative action to stem the flood of illegals. House Speaker Paul Ryan and fellow leftwing Republicans, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have done nothing.

The conservative House Freedom Caucus (HFC) supports H.R. 4760, The Securing America’s Future Act (aka the Goodlatte billproposed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). The Goodlatte bill provides temporary, renewable legal status to about 700,000 illegal alien youths who signed up under President Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. But Goodlatte also provides a laundry list of border security measures, including funding for the Wall, an end to chain migration and the diversity visa, and other measures. The bill has enough good features that it even earned the endorsement of the stridently anti-amnesty NumbersUSA.

Recently, Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas), Jeff Denham, (R-Calif.), and Carlos Curbelo, (R-Fla.) proposed using what is called a discharge petition to force a vote on a much broader set of immigration proposals. A discharge petition allows a bill to be released from committee for a floor vote over the objections of committee chairs and House leadership. It requires an absolute majority of House members — 218 votes — to succeed.

Speaker Ryan promised the HFC to whip the Goodlatte bill and provide an up-or-down floor vote on that bill alone by offering a resolution that would have ended the discharge petition crisis. In return for this pledge, HFC members promised to support the very contentious corporate-welfare-loaded Farm bill, which National Review columnist Michael Tanner called “a dog’s breakfast.” However, at the last minute, Ryan pulled a bait-and-switch, telling the HFC that the “Goodlatte” bill to be offered would contain unspecified modifications. The HFC balked, and the Farm bill went down in flames.

Open borders Republicans have teamed with the Democrats and are now merely four votes short of the discharge petition’s necessary 218, and Republican backers say they can get the rest of the votes. If they succeed, four separate immigration bills will come to the floor — Goodlatte, two other GOP proposals, and one from Democrats. The one getting the most votes — the so-called “queen of the hill” — will win. In competition with other bills, Goodlatte will fail, because there are too many Republicans carrying water for the Chamber of Commerce, which wants total amnesty. The Democrat proposal, or something close, will succeed, because it will be the only one they vote for — in essence giving Democrats a major win on amnesty in the run-up to November.

Trump is unlikely to sign the bill, but that won’t matter. The House GOP will have already further alienated a base already demoralized and infuriated by their relentless thwarting of President Trump’s immigration agenda. More than anything else, his tough stance on immigration won him the White House, and the GOP betrayal will make already challenging midterm election prospects even dimmer.

Both House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise have publicly denounced the discharge petition.

A week ago, McCarthy described how it could affect prospects for November: “If [the] election is today, we win. We will continue to grow. But … Intensity levels are still not there, and discharge petitions release the power of the floor that the American people gave us the responsibly to hold. When you release that power the majority goes to Nancy. If you want to depress intensity [i.e. voter turnout] this is [the] number one way to do it. We can debate internally but don’t let someone else like Nancy decide our future.”

Great words, but every D.C. insider knows that if McCarthy and Scalise used their combined power to stop the discharge petition, very few Republicans would dare support it. Instead, they have done nothing. Furthermore, one of the key petition supporters is Elise Stefanik — the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and a close friend of Speaker Ryan. It is unlikely she would defy leadership on this critical issue, so she must have received a quiet nod.

Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, has said, “By Ryan and McCarthy’s own admission, allowing this discharge petition is the death knell to the Republican majority in November. The fact that they refuse to stop it demonstrates either extraordinary weakness or willful deception about their opposition to the Democrats’ running the table on amnesty.”

Paul Ryan is retiring this year. Unfortunately, he is departing with a final middle finger to the HFC, the only House members consistently honoring their campaign pledges to do their jobs. Little will change if the House remains on its current trajectory. Ryan’s anointed successor, Majority Leader McCarthy, is at least as bad. Majority Whip Scalise, whose name has been circulated as well, abandoned his conservative mantle when he joined the leadership team. All are willing to surrender the House to Democrats in order to keep the monies rolling in from the Chamber of Commerce — the cheap labor seeking engine for amnesty.

If McCarthy and Scalise want to show true leadership they have to use the full power in their hands to stop the discharge petition. If they will not do this, they are enabling the Democrats. If they cannot do this, they are weak and ineffectual. In either case, they do not deserve leadership.

There is currently an effort afoot to draft HFC member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as candidate for House Speaker. An open letter to Jordan has received 801 signatures as of this writing, urging him to run and “Clean House.” Rep. Jordan is the kind of leader our nation desperately needs at this critical juncture.

The days of GOP betrayal, equivocation and incompetence have to end. A Jordan speakership would re-energize the base and give it reason to turn out in numbers in November. The alternative, a Nancy Pelosi Democrat-controlled Congress, would further thwart the Trump agenda, seek to impeach him, and set the stage for a Democrat presidential victory in 2020. Trump’s substantial achievements will be rolled back and it is doubtful our nation could survive another Obama-esque presidency.

James Simpson is an economist, businessman and investigative journalist. His latest book is The Red Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America. Follow Jim on Twitter & Facebook.


Crimes or War, the Body Collectors in Mosul

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Imagine the other cities in Iraq and Syria. Mosul was part of Assyria as early as the 25th century BC. Of note, in 2008, there was a sizeable exodus of Assyrian Christians. They sought sanctuary in Syria and Turkey due to threats of murder unless they converted to Islam.

Related reading: Aleppo: Tell Our Story After we are Gone

Inside the killing rooms of Mosul

Warning: Graphic images

MOSUL, Iraq — In March, VICE News returned to Mosul for the first time since the war against ISIS was declared over eight months ago.

While life may be returning to normal in the eastern half of the city, on the other side of the river — where the fighting was most intense — the scale of rebuilding that needs to be done is monumental. It’s estimated there are still 8 million tons of conflict debris that need to be moved before reconstruction can start, equivalent to three times the size of the Great Pyramid of Egypt. About 75 percent of that rubble is in West Mosul, and it’s mixed with so much unexploded ordnance that experts say this is now one of the most contaminated spots on the planet.

In the Old City, where ISIS made its last stand, residents have slowly started to come back – a few business owners hoping to repair shops, and families who have no other option but to live in their damaged homes. Some water tanks have been trucked in, and electricity cables have been temporarily patched together along some streets, but the place feels deserted, and in some ways the scene was not that different from how it looked shortly after the fighting.

Eight months on, there are hundreds or perhaps thousands of bodies still under the rubble, making life unbearable for the families who have returned.

The putrefied corpses are mainly Islamic State fighters or their families, since many of the non-ISIS civilian bodies have been dug out and reclaimed by family members or civil defense workers. The bodies that remain are a severe health hazard, but there’s little political will to deal with them, and removing them is risky given the unexploded munitions littering the area. Nevertheless, teams of citizen volunteers are going house-to-house carrying out this gruesome, dangerous work on a daily basis.

One volunteer team is led by Sroor al-Hosayni, a 23-year-old former nurse. Many of her group are even younger; some are medical students, but most have no formal training in handling corpses. So far, they say they’ve pulled and bagged more than 350 bodies that no one else was willing to deal with. They laid them in white plastic body bags where municipal trucks can easily collect them, labeling them for any potential explosives found with the corpse.

“We saw that there were bodies everywhere, in the alleys and inside the houses,” Hosayni said. “I took my team and started implementing this idea by going to help municipality and government workers in removing these bodies before summer comes and disease spreads in the city.”

At first the authorities complained, telling her: “‘You don’t have to move ISIS bodies. Leave them there; the dogs will eat them.”

Hosayni replied, “But one or two dogs can’t eat them; there are thousands of bodies.”

A suspected execution room inside the basement of a collapsed building Al Maydan, the district of the Old City where ISIS made its last stand. Hosayni and her team say there are more than 100 rotting corpses here. So far they have pulled more than 30 bodies from this room n the last few weeks. (Adam Desiderio/VICE News)

After filming Hosayni’s team at work near the destroyed Al Nuri mosque, we followed them to Al Maydan — the Old City neighborhood where ISIS made its last stand — where they had been working on one particular site for weeks.

Bulldozers have started clearing a path where Souk Al-Samak Street once ran along the river, but almost nothing else has changed since the air bombardment flattened this district.

The ruins of arched and intricately carved stone doorways open onto inner courtyards like dioramas of the war, frozen in time: Human corpses in varying degrees of decay lying amid stray ordnance, broken china, plastic toy trucks, and discarded military apparel.

Two hundred yards up the street and on the right, the team pointed us to a building on the banks of the Tigris River. Scrambling through the collapsed masonry, we emerged into two mostly intact basement rooms with barred windows looking out onto the river. In the far room, buzzing with flies and inescapable stench, were dozens and dozens of corpses, stacked too deep to count, one on top of another. It seemed to be the remains of a mass execution.

The body collectors told us there were at least 100 bodies in here; the team had already cleared more than 30 but had barely made a dent in the mound of corpses.

23 year-old Sroor al-Hosayni, a former nurse, leads a team of volunteer body collectors pulling corpses out of a collapsed building in Al Maydan, the district of the Old City where ISIS made its last stand. Hosayni and her team of volunteers have been pulling bodies from what they say is an execution room in the basement of this building. (Adam Desiderio/VICE News)

We saw what appeared to be the bodies of children, though it was difficult to verify given the level of decay. We saw no weapons or military gear on the bodies. The team told us they could see bullet wounds to their heads.

There are reports that ISIS locked large numbers of people in rooms like this, using them as human shields during the final days of the conflict. Many of those families died in coalition airstrikes — but this room was intact. It’s possible they could have been executed by ISIS fighters as government forces closed in. But it’s not clear why ISIS would kill or dispose of civilians in this way.

There are also reports of Iraqi forces executing captured ISIS members in this exact neighborhood. Beards and long hair were still visible on some of the corpses, leading the body collectors to believe some could be men who may have been affiliated with ISIS. But speaking to VICE, a senior Iraqi military official rejected any notion that Iraqi forces may have been responsible for the killings and told us that the site had already been investigated, without providing further details.

One international organization that has documented instances where Iraqi security forces have been accused of carrying out executions is Human Rights Watch.

Belkis Wille, the lead Iraq investigator at Human Rights Watch, visited the site soon after we did. She told us she was unaware of any investigation having been done at this particular site, and that — whoever was responsible for the deaths — the removal of evidence was troubling given that this was potentially the site of a war crime.

“Sites like that need the proper forensic teams securing the site and conducting the analysis needed to determine whether this is indeed the site of a crime,” Wille told VICE News. “Despite promises by the prime minister at the end of the battle to investigate abuses, we haven’t seen any sign of that leading to teams coming in and doing the investigations necessary. And the question really is, at what point do these sites potentially lose their forensic value and lose the evidence?”

Inside the remains of Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, Iraq where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an Islamic State caliphate in 2014. (Adam Desiderio/VICE News)

But for the body collectors — and for many residents of Mosul — with the heat of summer approaching, the overwhelming priority right now is to clean up this city and begin rebuilding. The need to properly document and investigate potential war crimes isn’t at the top of the agenda.

“It’s time to focus on the living, not the dead,” was the mantra we heard from authorities and from many families trying to rebuild their shattered lives.

Nevertheless, the question of what happened in neighborhoods like Al Maydan and others in those final stages before victory was announced, and in the days shortly afterward, refuses to disappear.

In the ultimate stages of the battle to extinguish the last pockets of ISIS from Mosul last summer, access to the “fight zone” became increasingly restricted.

Baghdad declared the conflict officially over on July 10. The announcement, broadcast live on state television, came as a surprise to many, since there were explosions and gunfire still echoing out from the Old City where the last dregs of the Islamic State terrorist group were refusing to surrender.

Just a day before that, VICE News was one of the few outlets that managed to get past the cordon to join a general from Iraq’s elite counterterrorism brigade and an advance team of his men as they carefully picked their way across the booby-trapped rooftops of collapsed buildings in the district of Al Maydan to plant an Iraqi flag on the banks of the Tigris.

It was a journey through hell. The neighborhood had been pulverized by airstrikes and shelling throughout the campaign, but the intensity had grown as ISIS fell back to these ancient, narrow streets lined with buildings dating back to the 12th century. There was hardly a structure still intact, ordnance and bodies lined the route, some fresh, some bloated and badly decomposed from days or weeks in the sun.

Reaching the river was a symbol of having decisively broken through ISIS defensive lines, a long-awaited moment of triumph for the soldiers. But as the flag was raised and the soldiers took selfies, gunfire from a sniper still alive among the rubble sent the party scattering for cover. In those final days, as different units of Iraq’s security forces held impromptu victory celebrations after liberating neighborhoods, the question lingered of what the end of hostilities actually looks like when the enemy is hell-bent on fighting to the death.

We will likely never know who killed the people in the basement room of the house on Al-Samak Street — but as long as claims persist that extrajudicial killings by Iraqi security forces may have taken place, the stakes of not investigating those could be high. While there is little sympathy for ISIS right now in the devastated neighborhoods of Mosul, a culture of impunity for any abuses that were committed could set the stage for the same kinds of grievances that contributed to the group’s rise in the first place.

http://expresscoachrepairs.net/job-tracker/winns-coaches/ Cover image: The basement of a collapsed building in Al Maydan, the district of the Old City where ISIS made its last stand. Volunteers have been pulling bodies from what they say is an execution room filled with more than 100 corpses in the basement of this building. (Adam Desiderio/VICE News)