The Politics of Entrapment IV: Peverted Justice and Porn Bombing

“We are the Perverted-Justice Foundation. Of course, those new to our foundation likely have no idea what that means. This is a foundation unlike most, if any, other foundations you’ll ever run across. We’re a foundation that does not simply thunder about a problem, we don’t merely advocate or preach against an issue from a distance. No, our foundation is a pro-active endeavor. We’re aggressive. We’re confrontational. We believe you have to be to make a difference in the fight against predators and pedophiles. We don’t wring our hands and say “they’re so evil, what can be done!” We find a way to get things done.”

pervertedjustice.com


Whether that “aggression”, “confrontation” and “getting things done” amounts to truly improving the situation or perpetuating the crimes is a question at least some who can still think attempting to ask amid all the gnashing of teeth. History tells us that vigilantism – whether in the street on the internet – is a cathartic experience for the ones doing the perceived purging, but less objective when it comes to targeting who is innocent and who is guilty. Indeed, with this kind of mindset it seldom seems to matter. It is the same ruinous, neo-conservative reflex to cleanse the world of complicated issues by using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

The internet has already spawned its own version of reflexive and ill-informed initiatives which serve to increase the peripheral ability for psychopaths to extort and control. The distortion of facts, the suppression of real issues and possible solutions are thus kept out of reach. Seemingly with the help of the public, those that are willing to seek retributive justice and project their own fears into the emotional maelstrom can find all they need with Perverted Justice.com. This particular website is but one example of vigilantism and police entrapment American style. It has formed a “gateway” for recruiting “volunteer contributors who pose as underage children in chat rooms. Posing from a variety of ages (standard ages are 10-15), these contributors simply go into chat rooms with fake online screen names and wait for predators to instigate conversation with them.”

Xavier Von Erck, the website owner, claims to target and expose “wannabe pedos” from online chats which have been recorded after the fact and where many have been arrested, convicted and placed on the California sex register. You are able to send the target an email (assuming he still has an account which is unlikely) and: “… If no police agency expresses interest in prosecuting those adults, we post them publicly on our website … Regardless of past interaction with police, we make an effort to present each case to police so that there is an opportunity to prosecute before the log is posted on this site.” [1]

images

Xavier Von Erck, 2006

Once the wannabe predator has been sufficiently stimulated and worked up into a frenzy of deviancy, phone numbers are taken and addresses given, ready for the police show down. The chat room dialogue is then posted on the website with a photo for all to see. Votes are then offered on how “slimy” the person is considered to be. Though this kind of puerile behaviour is the least of the problems on the site, it gives an indication of the intent of the website owner and the people he has employed to run it. Some believe that responses such as these, far from helping to address society’s problem of paedophilia and child rape crime, actually help to create it.

Von Erck provides an extensive FAQ section where all seems above order and meticulously thought out. There are a few problems with this set up however. It appears “Xavier Von Erck” or real name: Phillip Eide, a 26 year old computer gamer of Portland, Oregon, the owner and “director of operations” set up Perverted-Justice over 12 years ago with a strict “Rule of No First Contact” which was observed for the first 2 years. An immediate ban from the site would follow if any member contacted the police or news outlet regarding their ensnarement.

Several years ago the rule was “relaxed” largely due to pressure from ex-members who formed an alternative site corruptedjustice.com (which is no longer in existence) to alert the public that all was not rosy in the land of alleged paedophile busting. Since the PJ’s inception they have claimed to have “busted” over 600 men (as of 2005) with no police involvement. Since then, from the wikipedia listing we learn: “… online operations have led to 314 convictions as of March 28, 2009, with over 200 more currently awaiting trial, and an average of 25 arrests a month for the year of 2006.”

Corrupted Justice (CJ) raised some vital points when they asked:

“How many of those 600 were actual predators who were [allowed to] walk free because the vigilantes didn’t involve police? How many of those people were actually innocent and mistakenly ruined as a result of being targeted by untrained, anonymous Internet cop-wannabes?” The answers are less than encouraging.

Of the 15 plus “group media busts” in which they involve the television media in their stings is minimal at best, with the end result that the predators walk away suitably embarrassed and angry and no doubt still at large. According to CJ: “Out of 1106 men they have ‘busted’, only 42 convictions have resulted.” What is even more disturbing is that very few of the alleged ‘busts’ do not have much to do with child solicitation. On the CJ website it states: “The tiny percentage of their “busts” which have resulted in an arrest were virtually all a result of media reports, phone calls to police from neighbors, etc. after the fact. – The result – Mostly plea-bargains to minor charges because of a lack of usable evidence. Since the taping for February 3rd’s Dateline program, Perverted-Justice has resumed ‘busting’ people with absolutely no law enforcement involvement, preferring instead to let their anonymous members dish out their own form of ‘justice’ ”. [2]

True to form this has inevitably led once again to a number of recent cases since the Dateline taping which have: “… mistakenly begun anonymously threatening completely innocent, non-involved people by telephone and e-mail…”

This is akin to rattling a hornet’s nest and then running for cover. CJ asked in their editorial last year: “…what ever happened to the One Thousand and Sixty Four potential predators they busted but for which they didn’t contact the police? They are living in your community instead of sitting in jail where many of them may belong…”

medium_pj(Wikipedia)

Other substantiated claims against Perverted Justice include:

  • The employment of minors in explicit online sex chats.
  • Anonymous harassment and terrorization campaigns against those targeted.
  • Identity theft against critics of Perverted Justice.
  • Serious threats, defamation against journalists, attorneys and other child-protection organizations who have voiced concerns regarding the group’s vigilante tactics.
  • Classic psychopath tactics of denigrating critics by conversive thinking, paramoralisms and paralogical conclusions
  • No evidence of any actual recognized or legitimate law enforcement training for Perverted-Justice members has been made public other than the “extensive training” claimed by present members.

Though the intent may be to inform and defend children, the route taken to convictions are dangerously close to vigilantism dispensing with the “rule of law” however inadequate this may seem. Once “adult citizens” follow the already extremely suspect version of entrapment then the concept of law and justice becomes less than meaningless where a judge and jury are simultaneously acting as creators and instigators of crimes.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his tabloid news corporation MSNBC screened the “Dateline” show “To Catch a Predator” and paid Perverted Justice over $100,000 to participate in the programme. This is understandable, as the level of trashy voyeurism is matched by the other. However a “reputable” news corporation is not usually so up front about paying for stories and compensating sources, yet this is exactly what they did while watching the ratings climb, pandering to the same old propaganda which enraptured over 8 million viewers. It is tabloid T.V. at its worst yet remains a sure-fire winner for those seeking short-term profits from long-term misery.

In combination with PJ’s activities such exploitative programming merely make predators far more aware of legitimate police stings (a term to be used loosely) and to make the field of child molestation and paedophilia reduced down to nothing more than pop-corn entertainment. All this feeds into the overall impression that PJ and other sites and TV programmes are something other than an altruistic community protection. More likely it is part of a further operation to muddy the issues involved in sexual exploitation. Think War on Terror and we have the same programme – different channel.

Having originally wrote notes for this piece in 2005, it is perhaps most significant that no more than a year later a report from 2007 which gave a powerful indication that this was a police/FBI entrapment scam designed to create predators in much the same way that the FBI create terrorists. (See The Terror Industry). In an article by now defunct operationawareness.com it highlights reports filed to the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber-tipline, that  members of PJ were possessing and disseminating images of child pornography. The article observed:

“NBC Universal, which airs the Dateline show is currently facing two lawsuits for numerous improprieties. The first lawsuit filed by a former NBC producer  is seeking $1 million in damages for the wrongful termination. The firing came after the producer questioned the shows ethics and legalities. The second lawsuit seeks $100 million in damages and is brought by the surviving family members of one of the shows “targets”, who committed suicide as the NBC Dateline and Perverted Justice crew descended upon his home when he failed to show up at the “sting house”. Initial reports are that there was no valid arrest warrant for the man and one police officer on the scene was quoted as saying “that’ll make some good tv” after the man took his life.

Trouble has been circulating around the Perverted-Justice group almost from the beginning for working in tandem with NBC. They have been accused as “staging the news” and NBC reportedly pays Perverted Justice $100,000 per episode. Critics worry that this is a big incentive to do whatever possible to create a sting scenario – anything from false accusations to manufacturing evidence. Perverted Justice, is the group responsible for baiting what they term “would be child molesters” online by posing as minors. Although it is also being reported that they use real minors to lure their targets- raising concerns that Perverted Justice is exploiting minors to achieve their goals.” [3]

Unfortunately, letting the authorities know about one of their pet entrapment projects is a little like alterting the wolf that one of his lambs has wriggled through the fence. Sure enough, the presence of Perverted Justice remains as strong as ever and is still mining the internet for innocent and guilty alike. The title of this website is of course extremely apt: a perversion of justice is most certainly taking place and which will boost the child porn entrapment industry whilst feeding into the worst forms of vigilantism buttressed by superficial training schemes. What hope can we have from amateur law enforcement wannabees when the law and justice itself is fully compromised? The upshot of this, yet again, is a public concentration on the effects rather than the root cause, and clever displacement of focus away from Establishment abuse. Moreover, it means real predators will go further underground while true paedophiles seeking help for their condition can be assured of a climate of demonisation and ostricisation from such outfits. You will seldom see a more egotistical, righteous and dangerous forum for self-appointed judge and jury than this entrapment model.

***

Way back in August 2004, KenoshaOnline, a news portal for Kenosha and Wisconsin was forced to shut down its anonymous forum due to repeated spamming from a Defence Department source with “links to incest, bestiality, gay sex and other inappropriate media.” [4] KenoshaOnline’s John Norquist contacted the Pentagon regarding the “porn bombs” but the Department of Defence refused to comment. The site’s traffic saw a significant fall once the forum was disconnected. Perhaps this has a connection the fact that our beloved government workers at the Pentagon were investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2006 concerning the purchase of child pornography online and discovered: “… more than 250 civilian and military employees of the Defense Department — including some with the highest available security clearance — who  used credit cards or PayPal to purchase images of children in sexual situations.” With assistance from the Pentagon’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) it was found that at least 30 Defence Department employees “… staffers for the secretary of defense, contractors for the ultra-secretive National Security Agency, and a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency” were all in possession of child pornography.” However not only did the DCIS open investigations into just 20 percent of the individuals identified, it prosecuted “… just a handful.” [5]

According to John Cook of The Upshot:

“… new Project Flicker investigative reports obtained by The Upshot through the Freedom of Information Act, which you can read here, show that DCIS investigators identified 264 Defense employees or contractors who had purchased child pornography online. Astonishingly, nine of those had “Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information” security clearances, meaning they had access to the nation’s most sensitive secrets. All told, 76 of the individuals had Secret or higher clearances. But DCIS investigated only 52 of the suspects, and just 10 were ever charged with viewing or purchasing child pornography.” [6]

Meantime, the American public has 24 hr warrantless wire-tapping, intrusive searches at the airport, No knock SWAT raids, unlawful take-down of websites and numerous other unconstitutional actions, whilst government employees have a great deal of immunity from this encroaching police state.  Which brings us back once again, to the presence of blackmail and sexpionage as another reason why over 80% of cases were not investigated. While as of 2015, the case “remains open” it seems it hasn’t stopped Pentagon employees appetite for child porn, in whatever guise that maybe. Indeed, one individual attempted to do so 12,000 times. [7]

In 2013, the National Security Agency offers evidence that it had the same ultra-hypocrisy as the Pentagon in that it sees nothing wrong with accruing vast amounts of information from its citizens internet browsing history – most importantly, what pornography websites they visit – while their many of their employees enjoy viewing a deviant brand of the same. Indeed, targeting muslims in this context, is all part of the war on terror, they explain. But if you think that such practices are restricted to the terror industry, think again. This is surveillance which affects everyone. Using pornography and entrapment operations have multiple purposes to that end.

amateurThe pornography business can be used as a means of social control for a variety of purposes. Even Google has had to defend itself since August 2004 from the likes of US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who had been pressing the search engine giant to release data about people’s searching habits on the internet. [8] The Justice Department was keen to view specific information, including the types of queries submitted by users and the websites in its index. Not one to be accused of worrying too much about the privacy of its users, Google believes the criteria is too broad and “threatens trade secrets.” It fell to privacy groups to warn that user identities could be indirectly revealed, especially with the government’s new drive to collect data for “fighting crime and terrorism.” Their justification was the enforcement of pornography laws with special attention to the 1998 Child Protection Act which was blocked by the Supreme Court due to legal challenges regarding how it was enforced. Gonzales sought a court order to force the company to part with the records. (This is strangely hypocritical since the search engine is already in bed with the CIA).[9]

Over eleven years later and things haven’t improved. Amid the scandal of illegal surveillance by the UK’s GCHQ and America’s NSA revealed by whistleblower Edward J. Snowden the public is getting an idea just how bad it really is under the well-marketed, Goldman Sacs-funded Presidency of Barack Obama. (Although whether this is just a sophisticated psychological operations pantomime is anyone’s guess). Care of his confidente Glenn Greenwald, Snowden’s Leaked documents have shown that porn still plays a part in mass surveillance and intelligence tools. The latest leak has the NSA targeting activists’ and dissidents’ web history in order to locate visits to pornography sites in order to launch a future smear campaign. The claimed target of the social engineering initiative were Muslim radicals but in actual fact were only those critical of government policies.

In an appendix to the leaked document published by the Huffington Post Mr. Greenwald and his fellow journalists describe these individuals stating:

One target’s offending argument is that ‘Non-Muslims are a threat to Islam,’ and a vulnerability listed against him is ‘online promiscuity.’ Another target, a foreign citizen the NSA describes as a ‘respected academic,’ holds the offending view that ‘offensive jihad is justified,” and his vulnerabilities are listed as ‘online promiscuity’ and ‘publishes articles without checking facts.’ A third targeted radical is described as a ‘well-known media celebrity’ based in the Middle East who argues that ‘the U.S perpetrated the 9/11 attack.’ Under vulnerabilities, he is said to lead ‘a glamorous lifestyle.’ A fourth target, who argues that ‘the U.S. brought the 9/11 attacks on itself” is said to be vulnerable to accusations of ‘deceitful use of funds.’ The document expresses the hope that revealing damaging information about the individuals could undermine their perceived ‘devotion to the jihadist cause.’  [10]

When we know that mass surveillance has been in operation for decades, and there is a high probability that most sting operations on child pornography are police entrapments then this is merely confirmation that targets are compromised by monitoring and recording their browsing history. These operations successfully make the final case for blackmail and/or to discredit individuals by a sophisticated process of leakage via social networks and media.  Or as the appendix states: by “viewing sexually explicit material online or using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls.”

As multiple agencies are cited in the memo it is obvious that they had full awareness of the program and supported its objectives. This should not be anything other than business as usual since US intelligence used the same tactics to discredit so-called members of Al-Qaeda and even Osama bin Laden himself. Recall the juvenile allegations of USB sticks “filled” with pornography and jars of vasoline found at Osama bin Laden’s compound, following the U.S. deathstrike on him in May 2011. This was all part of the same propaganda exercise to revitalise the mythos of Osama as a depraved pervert as well as an evil head of the War on Terror. It’s merely another example of a familiar tactic that is used to eliminate critics.

Keep in mind that if you use the internet then your personal data is up for grabs. If you have the temerity to speak out against the surveillance state and if you have a history of looking at pornographic websites then you can be sure that this is all logged, recorded and filed for future use. Just make sure you don’t become too vocal against your beloved government who only has your protection at heart …

The internet-based Inquisition21 group which we looked at briefly in a previous post were seeking to bring a class action law suit against UK police for the Landslide/Operation Ore scandal and were subsequently delisted by Google. They believed this was due to the nature of the evidence they were sharing concerning child porn police corruption. After refusing to comment on the action Google issued a general statement yet failed to confirm that the Inquisition21 website had breached any of the guidelines. The censorship came just as the site was about to make potentially damaging disclosures about the handling of the Operation Ore investigations. [11]

While a reform of sex laws are periodically needed for improvement on a variety of bills and clauses, the introduction of measures, in effect, hand over responsibility to government bit by bit and decreases our own response-ability, often without the relevant information as to why such laws are considered so essential for our children’s protection and safety. In reality, freedom and responsibility are deeply connected and if one is curtailed the other will inevitably follow. The end result (and purpose) is that governments leverage greater and greater control under the prextexts of child pornography, the War on Terror and the War on Drugs, while its citizens scratch their heads and wonder how on earth it could have happened.

 


Notes

[1] http://www.pervertedjustice.com
[2] Ibid.
[3] https://web.archive.org/web/20121102181540/http://www.operationawareness.com/custom3_1.html
[4] ‘Pentagon declined to investigate hundreds of purchases of child pornography’The Upshot By John Cook September 3, 2010.
[5] Ibid.
[6] ‘Pentagon employee tried to access porn sites at work more than 12k times last year’ Russia Today,
January 07, 2015.
[7] See also: ‘Is Pentagon flooding Kenosha site with porn?’ By Rachel Campbell, The Journal Times , Racine WI, August 26, 2004.
[8] ‘Google defies US over search data’ BBC News, Friday, 20 January 2006.
[9] Former CIA agent and computer expert Robert David Steele, who has close connections with top Google directors, suggested that Google co-operated with the CIA. Steele is was the second-ranking civilian (GS-14) in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence from 1988-1992 and a former clandestine services case officer for the CIA. His latest accusations against Google have raised the possibility that other accusations are now credible and that Google is truly censoring in places far from China and much nearer home. For example, Google has been caught censoring recent programmes and critiques critical of the Iraq war. On the October 2006 Alex Jones radio programme, Steele said, “I think that Google has made a very important strategic mistake in dealing with the secret elements of the U.S. government – that is a huge mistake and I’m hoping they’ll work their way out of it and basically cut that relationship off. Google was a little hypocritical when they were refusing to honor a Department of Justice request for information because they were heavily in bed with the Central Intelligence Agency, the office of research and development.”
[10] Document 3RA/501518-12 “Terrorism/Islamic Radicalization Global Radicalizers vulnerable in terms of Authority.” – ‘NSA spied on ‘radicalisers’ porn surfing so as to discredit them, reveals Snowden,’ By John Leyden, The Register, November 27th 20013.
[11] ‘Google erases Operation Ore campaign site’ by Lucy Sheriff, The Register, September 21, 2006.

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