AIDS

In the Name of the Father II: The Pink Church?

“At the Vatican, a significant number of gay prelates and other gay clerics are in positions of great authority. They may not act as a collective but are aware of one another’s existence. And they inhabit a secretive netherworld, because homosexuality is officially condemned … For gay clerics at the Vatican, one fundamental condition of their power, and of their priesthood, is silence, at least in public, about who they really are.”

Michael Joseph Gross, The Vatican’s Secret Life


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By the end of 2002, some 1,200 priests had been accused of abuse nationwide with millions of dollars of compensation being paid to victims. Although five US prelates resigned in the ensuing maelstrom, this is a rather weak result when set against the sheer scale of abuse. The same story has been repeated in Europe accusations of which led to prosecutions and a sprinkling of cases where evidence was lacking. Bishops from Argentina, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Wales, Scotland, Canada, Switzerland and Austria were also forced out of the church. More than 80 per cent of the church’s victims were male.

It is worth noting that Catholic Church in Ireland has been particularly high up on the league tables of general crimes and conspiratorial wrangling. Humiliation, terror, violent rape and long term molestation matched the US experience when four decades of abuse by 21 priests at the Ferns diocese in the East Ireland town of Wexford was discovered. [1] The practice of moving priests away from positions which had become “unfriendly” for abuse, led to the molesters being placed in posts at schools or other local parishes. This was followed by allegations against a total of 27 priests who served in the archdiocese of Tuam, though six are now dead. Eight clerics left the priesthood in Tuam “after a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that child abuse had taken place was established. Three clerics have already been convicted of horrific child sex abuse charges. The earliest case revealed… date[d] back to 1940.”  Other claims against seven priests from other dioceses were also lodged. [2]

An April 2005 report in The New York Times gave details about a three-member panel appointed by the Irish government, showed that the Catholic Church hierarchy in Ireland: “… was only one part of a system that enabled cover-ups allowing known sexual predators to retain their positions within the church – and their access to young victims.”

The report continued:

“Before 1990, the panel found, the police were reluctant to investigate claims of sexual abuse by the clergy because they were fearful of challenging the privileged position of Roman Catholic Church authorities.
Most schools in Ireland are run by the Catholic Church, so even lay teachers found it difficult to sound alarms. In addition, public health authorities failed to follow up on some accusations of abuse and cut short other inquiries.
For nearly three years, the commission, led by a former Supreme Court judge, heard more than 100 accusations of abuse against 26 priests over a 40-year period in one diocese, Ferns, on Ireland’s southeast coast.

One-fifth of the report’s 271 pages are taken up by testimony, often verbatim and frequently explicit, from the victims. It includes accounts of priests at a Catholic boarding school who measured boys’ penises at night, of boys who were forced to perform oral sex on priests and of girls who were molested during confession, one even on a church altar.

An investigation of 60 accusations of abuse in the Dublin archdiocese began this week, and a public debate has begun about whether to end the Catholic Church’s role in the Irish education system. About 95 per cent of Ireland’s elementary schools are state-financed but run by Catholic authorities.” [3]

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In April 2002, Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other Church leaders finally summoned by the Pope told a news conference that they had all signed a letter vowing that: “we stand ready to take the steps needed to strengthen our past resolve and to keep children and young people safe for the future and to help heal those so tragically hurt by this abuse.” Obviously this was due to media pressure rather than any sudden development of conscience. Despite this attendance they felt that sexual predation by “men of God” did not merit a “zero tolerance” approach, although a handful of archdiocese took up the gauntlet.

Overall, the rules fell way short and once again, harked back to the same rapid back-peddling enacted by Ratzinger and Cardinal Law that prolonged the cover-up as a whole. A zero tolerance policy and a national policy on dealing with allegations of sexual abuse was formally agreed – on paper at least – at a U.S. Conference of Bishops in late June 2002. However, by June 2005, while setting aside a welcome $1 million to “partially finance a broad study of the causes of abuse within the nation’s largest religious denomination,” considerable tinkering with the wording of the national policy had taken place resulting in what many believe to be a somewhat diluted version. One leading victim advocacy organization said these new changes approved by the bishops weakened the abuse policies, first adopted in 2002. But the bishops, seemingly overjoyed by their “decisive response” dismissed the critics’ fears with Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, viewing such criticism issuing only from the “enemies of the church.”

Despite ostensible improvements in policy (which appear open to erosion) many critics cite the Church’s refusal to publicly identify all abusive priests; the failure to seek special penalties for bishops who abused minors or for bishops who failed to remove abusive priests from the ministry as yet more reasons to distrust the motives of Catholic Church hierarchy. Church bureaucracy and the implementation of waivers via their Statutes of limitations, along with the aforementioned revisions in national policies have caused serious concern among former victims: “George, the vice president of the bishops conference and the bishops’ lead negotiator with the Vatican on sexual abuse policy, said he did not believe the proposed revisions would lead to any change in the way bishops handle allegations against priests. And, he said, the National Review Board’s status would not change. He said that the board was never independent of the bishops and that all appointments to national posts by the bishops’ conference are already vetted by local bishops.” [4]

Did the rot not set in precisely due to the fact that there was vetting biased towards preferences and proclivities? George seemed to be celebrating the fact of the old boy’s network in action. An independent review board consisting of a mix of priests, theologians and civic representatives was obviously too threatening.

Reports from 2005 – 2007 found that hundreds of priests accused of abuse had been moved from country to country, allowing them to start new lives in unsuspecting communities while continuing to work in church ministries. Other findings reported in 2002 identified 200 cases involving clergy who had tried to elude law enforcement. Many priests remained free in one country while facing on-going criminal inquiries, arrest warrants or convictions in another. The research found that “Although most runaway priests remain in the church and should be easier to locate than other fugitives, police and prosecutors often fail to take basic steps to catch them. Dozens of priests who are no longer eligible to work in the United States have found sanctuary abroad.” [5]

It is also the fantasies of the “flock” that exacerbate the problem of bringing those responsible to justice. Many cannot bring themselves to accept that the dear old white, wispy-haired Reverend may have sat their niece or nephew on his knee for reasons diametrically opposite to goodness and service. However, investigations have been carried out where priests have been wholly innocent of any wrong doing. Accusations do seem to have the same effect of instantaneous guilt. Though looking at the history so far, the prevalence of the guilty far outweighs those who have been wrongfully accused. The case of Rev. Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany’s Diocese in New York, who was cleared of any wrongdoing with overwhelming support of his congregation, may be a case in point, or it may be more evidence of primary psychopathy.

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Rev. Bishop Howard Hubbard

From his staunchly Catholic and conservative stronghold the backing comes from what his congregation say is Hubbard’s consistent example that has shown in his work for the poor and oppressed. Indeed, in Rev. Hubbard’s own words: “I stand before you today with a clear conscience,”… “I am at peace with God and within myself, because there is absolutely no truth to the allegations which have been levelled against me.” [6] And there many members of Albany’s public who were not so quick to defend the priest. Nonetheless, there are still a host of questions to be answered which may prove to have a bearing on the Reverend’s denials.

Andy Zalay came forward with:

“… allegations that his brother Tom, who committed suicide in 1978, had a sexual relationship with Bishop Hubbard. On Friday, 42-year-old Anthony Bonneau said he was paid for sex by Hubbard.” […] Catholic Agnes Bopp said, ‘It’s terrible. The bishop is the most wonderful person in the world. He is the best bishop we’ve ever had.’” [7]

Born-again Christian, Anthony Bonneau, finally spoke publicly in opposition to the tide of support for Hubbard, whom he called “a Washington Park predator.” Bonneau claimed to have been a 16-year-old runaway “when the Albany bishop twice paid him for sex in Albany’s Washington Park. Bonneau told the Times-Union that he recognized Hubbard as one of his johns about ten years ago when he saw the bishop on television. At the time, he said he told only his wife.” [8]Like Andy Zalay, Bonneau had no interest in pursuing allegations to claim compensation. It was Hubbard’s public statement of denials which compelled him to come forward. His motivation was “out of a sense of Christian duty in hopes of protecting other children.”

Hubbard always remained adamant that he was innocent of the allegations made against him. What casts a shadow over his now successful quest to clear his name is the strange death of Fr. John Minkler who was found dead at his home on Sunday, February 15, 2004. Two days before, the dead priest had taken part in a television news programme which explored his own 1995 report addressed to New York’s Cardinal John J. O’Connor. What was interesting about this report was the fact that it contained information regarding “a ring of homosexual Albany priests.” This included Bishop Howard Hubbard’s alleged long-term homosexual relationships with two younger priests.

Journalist Paul Likoudis, writing for The Wanderer (an online Newspaper of the National Catholic Weekly) had worked closely with Fr. John Minkler for 13 years to “expose the corrupt clerical culture in Albany.” Minkler was one of four priests who provided the bulk of the chancery “inside information” for The Wanderer’s 1991, ten-week series, “Agony in Albany.” He related how, in his view, the death of Minkler was far from coincidental. He was certainly in the position to know, having been closely acquainted with the deceased.

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photos of eight victims out of many thousands

The story begins with the Priest returning from a retreat. He had been ordered to the Chancery for an urgent meeting by his friend and colleague Fr. Kenneth Doyle, Albany diocesan spokesman and a civil and canon lawyer. Minkler was presented with an affidavit by Doyle where it was declared that: “…he never wrote the letter to O’Connor; that he had never spoken with attorney John Aretakis (who handed out two copies of the letter to reporters, some of whom already had it) — which was true; that he had never made such allegations against Hubbard; and that he had “never, in writing or otherwise, communicated with the Archdiocese of New York regarding such allegations.”

The affidavit concluded:

“I make this statement of my own free will and I know that making a false statement is a crime.” Contrary to Fr. Minkler’s recollection to this reporter, made six hours after his visit to the chancery, Hubbard told reporters at a press conference after Minkler’s death was reported: “Fr. Minkler made an appointment to see me and he told me that he did not author the letter, and he wanted to be with me face to face and to assure me that he had not written anything to Cardinal O’Connor about me. He did not know the priests that were named in the letter, and he did not know how his name got associated with the letter.”

The meeting with Doyle was very brief, and he only saw Hubbard from a hallway, Minkler told this reporter, “Fr. Doyle had this disclaimer all made out, and he said, ‘Sign it’. “I signed it with mental reservations, and now I’m going to have to go to Confession down in New York, because I can’t go in this diocese,” Minkler said. [9] [Emphasis mine]

However, Likoudis relates how Minkler, one of the Bishop’s major detractors “sounded scared” during their Friday evening conversation. The cause of this fear stemmed from the disclosure of the letter he had been requested to write to Cardinal O’Connor in June 10, 1995 and how he feared it would be prove “disastrous” for him. The Priest had worked for the Cardinal as a private secretary when O’Connor was head of the military vicariate. Apprehensive about a scheduled meeting with Rev. Hubbard on February 16th Minkler had contacted Likoudis for advice:  “I suggested that he pre-empt the meeting by holding his own press conference ‘and let everything out.’ His response was that if he did that, ‘I’d be dead.’”

The claims of abuse by a select group of priests under the Albany’s Hubbard and Rochester’s Bishop Matthew Clark had been circulating for some time. In confiding to Likoudis, Minkler also mentioned that O’Connor had “told him to prepare a brief on Hubbard that he would personally turn over to Pope John Paul II.” According to Minkler: “O’Connor, during a visit to the Vatican made a personal appeal to John Paul II to remove both Hubbard and Clark, and the Holy Father told O’Connor, “There’s nothing I can do.”

The majority of the letter – which included names – concentrated on allegations of recruiting homosexual men to the diocesan priesthood while at the same time turning away heterosexual men from applying; recruiting seminarians from other dioceses who had been reported and fired for homosexual activity; a kind of homosexual nepotism with solicitations from former or present “lovers” for the priesthood. The letter also focused on allegations that: “doctors and other professional health care workers had reported seeing AIDS patients who claimed they had relationships with Albany priests…”  Hubbard featured prominently in the letter where it was stated that he had long-term, homosexual relations with two young priests. According to Likoudis, Minkler also “provided names and proclivities of the homosexual priests in the diocese.” [10]

Fr. Joseph F. Wilson of the Diocese of Brooklyn spoke with Fr. Minkler by telephone on the evening of his death and found that he had “no reservations whatsoever about his state of mind when I finished talking to him that night.” As Paul Likoudis mentioned, Fr. Minkler was a “trusted source of inside information in the Diocese of Albany” … critical of Bishop Howard Hubbard.” The cause of death was a heart attack, though there appears to have been some confusion as to whether it was initially a suicide.


“A disproportionate number of homosexuals are being recruited into our seminaries. I know of one seminary, where two years ago, 60 percent of the students identified themselves as “gay”, 20 percent were confused about their sexual identity, and only 20 percent considered themselves to be heterosexual.”

– Pastor Ignotus, ‘What are we Advertising?’ The Tablet, April 24th 1999


Michael J. Rose of online journal crux.com informs us of another suspicious death from 1998 and the subject of one of the most extensive FBI investigations in Wisconsin history. The crime involved a Fr. Alfred Kunz who was murdered at his rural parish from a slice to the throat with a razor blade. The priest had bled to death before being discovered the following morning. Kunz, an accomplished canon lawyer: “… investigated homosexual corruption in the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois. Less than two years after the death of Fr. Kunz, Springfield’s Bishop Daniel Ryan resigned after Frank Bergen, a former male prostitute, identified the bishop as one of his regular high-paying clients for 11 years, going so far as to describe in detail the bishop’s private residence. Bishop Ryan, however, steadfastly denied that charge and others for years before he resigned.” [11]

Either way, Hubbard is fully exonerated while the puzzle remains. The priest’s alleged promotion of a homosexual agenda or his opposition to the “zero tolerance” policy can only heighten the mystery surrounding Minkler’s death, which was in the middle of seeking reformative changes in the Albany diocese. Given that two of the three accusers against the bishop are dead – questions will naturally remain. The gay-friendly reputation of the Diocese of Albany and of neighbouring Rochester is not the problem. The circumstances of Minkler’s death set against a history of global homosexual and/or paedophile rings in the Church suggests deception and cover-up that begins to relate to a wider macro-social pattern.

Bishop Hubbard and others of his ilk may be exactly as they say they are – men with a clear conscience. We must then look at why the persistent accusations keep returning and with substantial cause. If nothing else, the Hubbard case does show how difficult it is to restore trust when such an institution remains shrouded in secrecy and lies.

Most theology historians worth their salt will tell you that Christianity has been replete with homosexual priests. A high proportion of priests are gay and have been open to the accusation that they are hostile to the ordination of women priests and antagonistic to idea of marriage among the clergy, not simply due to catholic doctrine.  It should come as no surprise that if the Catholic Church can be against child abuse while harbour child rapists within their ranks then they even more likely to countenance a “gay lobby” in their corridors of power while preaching anti-gay dogma.

The well recognized prominence of homosexuality in Church and politics could be seen as a major factor in abuse though not a reason for paedophilia and child molestation. Jason Berry, the Christian author of Lead us not into temptation found 40 to 50 per cent of Christian clergy to be overtly homosexual. (a further summary of homosexual priest statistics can be found at religious tolerance.org) Politically, paedophilia has been sort after for those to occupy key positions in government as a means for blackmail. In the Church the core infection of such a practice is a by-product of its hierarchical structure and secretive traditions. Predators go where they can best pursue their prey from the shadows of authority and since authority breeds the same predilection for abuse it veers toward a chicken-and-egg situation.

There is a distinction between actual paedophilia and pederasty which often gets confused. Relationships with teenagers (pederasty) according to one study formed over 81 per cent of discovered abuse. [12] With the new directives prohibiting gay men or “anyone who has been part of a gay subculture or had lived promiscuously as a heterosexual would be refused admittance into the Catholic priesthood” one can only wonder if this isn’t missing the point. [13] Preferences for male or female is not the issue. Rather, the issue of the Catholic Church itself that harbours such psychopathy and indeed may have found itself comprehensively ponerised by elements of the same.

In 2013, nothing has changed to allay fears of the Catholic faithful that abuse has stopped and that a gay lobby has been disbanded. In the UK, Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned having been accused of “homosexual misconduct” whilst another priest in Scotland is suspended for daring to suggest that “homosexual priests intimidate others in the clergy.”  More importantly, back in New York’s Albany diocese was ordered by a Federal judge to turn over its clergy abuse files spanning 40 years. However, it seems this too favours the guilty. The request includes a sealing order which will keep the records from being made public. The request came from Albany diocese diocese and none other than  Gary J. Mercure who is “… an imprisoned Albany priest who is accused of systematically raping and abusing altar boys for years.”

It seems the Church and State never separated after all.

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Notes

[1] Francis D. Murphy, Helen Buckley, and Larain Joyce, The Ferns Report, presented by the Ferns Inquiry to the Minister for Health and Children (Dublin: Government Publications, October 2005).
[2] ‘New abuse timebomb’by Brian MacDonald, Irish Independent, October 31, 2005.
[3] ‘Ireland shaken by sex abuse report’ By Brian Lavery, The New York Times, November 13, 2005.
[4] ‘Catholic bishops retain ‘zero tolerance’ policy’ – Will set aside $1m for sex abuse study By Michael Paulson, The Boston Globe, June 18, 2005.
[5] ‘Untouchable – Runaway Priests hiding in plain sight’, By Reese Dunklin. The Dallas Morning News June 20, 2004.
[6] ‘In Albany, sexual accusations raise a bishop’s high profile’ By Darryl McGrath, The Boston Globe, March 14, 2004.
[7] Capital News 9, Feb 8, 2004.
[8] ‘Priest’s mysterious death complicates’ Albany bishop’s quest to clear his name Michael S. Rose cruxnews.com., 27 February 2004.
[9] ‘Mystery Surrounds Death Of Priest’ By Paul Likoudis, The Wanderer Newspaper Online, wanderer.com. February 26, 2004.
[10] ‘Priest’s mysterious death complicates’ Albany bishop’s quest to clear his name Michael S. Rose cruxnews.com., 27 February 2004.
[11] Ibid.
[12] ‘Catholic bishops retain ‘zero tolerance’ policy Will set aside $1m for sex abuse study’ By Michael Paulson, The Boston Globe, June 18, 2005.
[13] Ibid.

Amerikan Beauty II: Civilised Slavery

“Slavery is a weed that grows on every soil.
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– Edmund Burke
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We have discussed the networks of Establishment led child abuse. But what of other streams of exploitation which inevitably provide a steady supply of victims of cross-cultural victims with home grown pathologies adapting and shifting to the demands of globalisation? Rapid transformation from the underworld of crime into an overworld of deep politics fusing with mafia-led supply and demand. It is this criminal psychopathy which is determining the trajectory of the vulnerable and dispossessed, assisted by the Structural Adjustment Team, world state policies and trans-national corporations.

Commensurate with this change is the lucrative slaved trade which is back with a vengeance. In fact it never went away, it adapted to the rapid global changes that have swept the globe in the last few decades resulting in more then 35. 8 million adults and children classed as slaves worldwide. [1] Human trafficking, immigration, narcotics, bonded labour, prostitution, money laundering, the weapons industry – all interconnect and weave in and out of each respective well of misery  since they are all rooted in the same toxic dance of perennial exploitation. As the disasters of Shock Doctrine economic plunder reverberate around the world we are seeing the tangible results come home to roost. Be it the mass exodus of displaced populations in Africa and the Middle East from the West’s manipulated wars, or the destruction of social welfare in countries of Europe, the steady rise of human trafficking and its brutal slavery is rising up through the tattered cloth of Western cultures in ways which will not be ignored for much longer.

With the disappearance of border controls in Europe and and new countries keen to join the European Union there is effectively nothing to stop the commensurate trade in humans feeding this demand. Deregulated capitalism as given a green light to organised crime. Many young men and women desperate to leave their homelands due to high unemployment and poverty the American Dream is an alluring prospect. However, this idealism can become a literal death trap for the vulnerable, most of whom have no idea of the realities of exploitation. Nor is this restricted to those without income or struggling to survive, and where visions of “the grass is always greener” often determine choices made.

Author Victor Malarek described it in the following terms:

“Crime syndicates use a variety of methods to capture young women. A girl walking down a road in Moldova is forced into a car. An overflowing Romanian orphanage receives a visit from ‘social workers’ offering ‘apprentice programs’ for adolescent girls. A young Ukrainian woman desperate to help her starving parents responds to a newspaper advertisement for au pairs to work in Germany. An ambitious young graduate signs up with what appears to be a legitimate foreign corporation at a job fair at a Russian university.” [2]

The vulnerable are the new commodity in the 21st century. According to the U.S. Department of Justice human trafficking is the second fastest growing criminal industry – just behind drug trafficking – with children accounting for roughly half of all victims. Of the 2,515 cases under investigation in the U.S. in 2010, more than 1,000 involved children. [2] For an industry now worth at least $32-billion worldwide and surpassing the sale of arms, it is the new source of shadow employment set to engage law and justice authorities well into the future – that is, if they are not partaking in the dividends themselves.

The United States has another form of slavery which is perhaps more Orwellian/Huxleyian than overt slavery. But the two authoritarian mindsets are inextricably linked.

 79072591_global_slavery_20141711_624v4Global Slavery Index 2014


1280px-Map3.3Trafficking_compressedWomen’s Stats project (wikipedia)


Modern_incidence_of_slaveryWalk Free Foundation (2013) Wikipedia


A March 2002 report from The Coalition against Trafficking in Women found that trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation is a national problem, and one that is increasing in scope and magnitude. The U.S. government estimates that 50,000 women and children are trafficked each year into the United States, primarily from “Latin America, countries of the former Soviet Union and Southeast Asia.” Their report was the first of its kind drawn from national and international data along with interviews with prostitutes themselves. However, NGO’s and charities put the total number of women and children trafficked into the US as 100,000 with speculation that this is another conservative estimate. Six years later up to 2.5 million people trafficked were from 127 different countries into 137 countries around the world. [3]  By 2013, the number of UK-born children trafficked for sexual exploitation had doubled in 2013 – a rise of 155% according to the National Crime Agency.

If there is a problem with obtaining accurate statistics for any issue then human trafficking will be found at the top of such a list. This is due to both confusion between the terms “trafficking” which uses forms of transport and coercion and “smuggling” which implies voluntary acts and financial remuneration. Trafficking itself is also a highly dynamic process interconnected with a host of other entities which oil the wheels of its progress. Corrupt governments, outsourced agencies and other lesser-known financial intermediaries ensure that trafficking and other crimes necessarily intersect making real statistical analyses of the problem fraught with difficult. Where does it end and begin?

It is also true that figures tend to be inflated in much the same way as the Climate Change industry – if there is money to be made from erecting a vast subset of anti-trafficking NGOs and related bureaucracies then money tends to flow in greater quantities when figures are high. Even by 2009, The Global Report on Trafficking in Persons admitted that the exact scope of international trafficking is still “one of the key unanswered questions.” [4]


 “[S]ex trafficking and mass rape should no more be seen as women’s issues than slavery was a black issue or the Holocaust was a Jewish issue. These are all humanitarian concerns, transcending any one race, gender, or creed.”


Mexico and South America as a whole has historically been a place of exploitation for the North America. With sex trafficking businesses burgeoning in Colombia and Venezuela and with Curacao or Aruba within sight of the Caribbean Islands “Spotters,” can be paid to watch for women on vacation as potential sex slaves. Guiding them into situations which leave them drugged and transported to a waiting car and boat for transportation to the mainland or island brothels is a relatively easy enterprise. Yet this is simply mirroring the developing trade within the US itself.

Back in 1997 one San Francisco resident, 36 year-old Catalina Suarez, testified before the United Nations about her ordeal as a sex slave. She told the San Francisco Examiner how she was 9 years old when “… a grandfatherly neighbour lured her with a gift, kidnapped her and kept her chained her to a bed in a rural Puerto Rico shack, forcing the child to have brutal sex with a succession of men.” There are hundreds of similar accounts. Federal and State officials told the San Francisco Examiner that: “The multimillion-dollar sex-slave trafficking stretches from Thailand to San Francisco, from Russia to New York City. The U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C., is conducting a nationwide investigation of the prostitution slavery of Thai women and girls.” [5]

This report is over ten years old and since that time, the market has steadily and significantly increased.

US Human rights groups, immigration attorneys and former workers have revealed that thousands of domestic servants are being brought into the United States from impoverished countries and then severely exploited by foreign employers, many of whom work for embassies and international organisations, particularly in the Washington area. [6] There have been a number of prosecutions involving the trafficking and/or forced prostitution of children. For example:

  • two defendants in Maryland who brought a 14-year-old girl from Cameroon and, with threats and sexual and physical assaults, forced her to be their domestic servant.
  • A businessman in California trafficked numerous young girls into the United States to work in prostitution and a group of defendants recruited approximately 40 girls aged 12-17 from Georgia for prostitution, threatening them with violence if they tried to leave.
  • A wealthy landlord from Berkley, California was charged with buying two teenage girls in India and bringing them to the United States for forced labour.
  • A couple in Eastern New York State pleaded guilty to a variety of charges related to smuggling Peruvians into the United States with the same intention.

These cases have resulted in jail sentences for the defendants and orders that restitution be paid to the victims. Such examples are typical.

Washington State is reported to be a hotbed of trafficking in brides, sex workers, domestic workers and children. The director of the US State Department, John Miller was forced to confront the issue that slavery was “still alive”: ‘I’m reading about how they lured these girls from Asian nations, promised them restaurant jobs, modelling jobs, … seized their passports, beat them, raped them, moved them from brothel to brothel,’ he said. This was not happening in some distant Third World nation, however. ‘There it was in civil Seattle …’ [7]

The US government would have us believe that forced prostitution and trafficking is predominantly an external problem. This is far from the truth. The international trade in women and children is fast becoming more prevalent in the US than many other destination and transit countries. Jody Raphael, of the Women and Girls Prostitution Project at the Centre for Impact Policy Research, based in Chicago, believes that this control extends across all levels of the industry:

“‘For example, police who pick women up from the ‘stroll’ on Halsted and North/Clybourn (west of downtown Chicago) say a lot of the girls are from Milwaukee or Tennessee. They’re being moved around. It helps them avoid detection and gives the customers a variety of new girls. From our grassroots studies, I’m learning to no longer make such a distinction between local and international trafficking.’ […]

‘Men will go to recruit girls at shopping malls, places like that, they’ll find girls who have run away from home,’ explains Raphael. ‘They’ll say you can earn a lot of money, it will be really glamorous, they’ll tell a girl she’s beautiful and does she want to be in a movie or make a music video. Then they’ll drive her to Chicago and not let her leave. She’ll be watched day and night by these goons. This happens with more frequency than people want to admit.’ [8]

Women and children within the United States of America and abroad who are locked into poverty are far more likely to become victims of exploitation, most particularly trafficking. This inevitably  leads to a catch-22 of long-lasting physical and psychological trauma; disease (including HIV/AIDS), violence/abuse; drug addiction; unwanted pregnancy; malnutrition; social ostracism; and in many cases, death. All this is exacerbated and prolonged by the growing market in sex tourism from both the United States and Europe. [9]

One journalist described sex trafficking as “systemic rape for profit” the likes of which hasn’t stopped the profit-making prison business cashing in.  One would think that victims of trafficking would receive counselling in government sponsored facility but this is not the case. Trafficked children inside the US are frequently arrested on prostitution charges, incarcerated and treated like criminals despite being minors. Juvenile detention is the next port of call where more stress and trauma is overlaid on already deep wounds.

According to The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking America’s Prostituted Children: “… they typically are given a quota by their trafficker/pimp of 10 to 15 buyers per night. Utilizing a conservative estimate, a domestic minor sex-trafficking victim would be raped by 6,000 buyers during the course of her victimization through prostitution.” [10]  Change is coming albeit slowly. In 2008, “New York established a Safe Harbor Law to decriminalize underage victims of sexual exploitation. Since then, 9 states have followed suit, but in the remaining states, children who are bought and sold for sex are still sent to jail.” [11]

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Visit covenanthouse.org and help to stop sexual exploitation of children


chart-image-822097305760-site_display_607-race-and-human-traffickingimage credit: Natalie Lubsen | Sources: victimsofcrime.org


Perhaps one of the most shocking stories to finally receive some public attention in recent years are the child rape camps of San Diego County, California, involving hundreds of Mexican girls between 7 and 18 that were kidnapped or subjected to entrapment by organised criminal sex trafficking gangs.

According to libertadlatina.org (now defunct) who have tried to campaign for this information to be given a mainstream hearing, the victims: “were brought to San Diego County, California. Over a 10 year period these girls were raped by hundreds of men per day in more than 2 dozen home based and agricultural camp based brothels.” [12] The girls were sold to farm workers – between 100 and 300 at a time – in small “caves” made of reeds in the fields. Many of the girls had babies, who were used as hostages with death threats against them, so their mothers would not try to escape. It was only in January of 2003 when the Mexican paper El Universal published a three part series on the trafficking and brothel camps that interest began to take place further afield.

The cover-up was evident not just for the zero coverage from the MSM but for another reason: A Latina medical doctor employed by a U.S. federal agency provided condoms to the victims for years, and was told by her supervisors not to speak out and organise efforts to rescue the victims. This doctor was ordered under threat of legal action to keep quiet about the mass victimization of children in “rape camps.”  Numbers of murdered immigrant teen girls are still being found in San Diego, possibly linked to trafficking rings. Despite a programme filmed by a local T.V. station and occasional arrests of supposed ring leaders who only receive minor jail terms – the camps continue to exist.

With crime networks emerging as the channels for the new and strengthened forms of trafficking, narcotics and arms we can see parallel increase in the commercial sector – the seemingly “presentable” face of exploitation. In the United States research has revealed that between 244,000 and 325,000 American children are at risk of being victimized by commercial sexual exploitation each year.

Dr. Melissa Farley of Prostitution Research and Education, and Dr. Richard Estes of the University of Pennsylvania have provided the American public with a snapshot of the commercial sex trade in the US today. Dr. Farley’s interviews with 130 people working as prostitutes in the San Francisco area revealed that:

  • 83 percent have been threatened with a weapon;
  • 82 percent have been physically assaulted
  • 68 percent have been raped (59 percent of these have been raped four or more times)
  • 84 percent reported past or current homelessness.
  • 49 percent reported that pornography was made of them in prostitution
  • 75 percent have a drug abuse problem
  • 50 percent now have a physical health problem
  • 88 percent want to leave prostitution
  • 57 percent were sexually abused as children. [13]

This latter figure confirms a correlation with the sexual abuse in society and its connections to other forms of non-familial systems of exploitation.

If the US government’s “ownership society” is allowed to continue, where the richest 1 percent of households already owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined; one out of six Americans has no health insurance and one out of eight Americans live below the official poverty line, then exploitation can only increase still further. (This equally applies to Europe, the Latin American and African continents).

We should not be surprised that The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking, remains terminally under-funded. [14] Indeed, the Bush Administration’s feckless attempts to prove their credentials regarding the slave trade went the way of most of their legislative promises by waiving any financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia. Up until to this year, the Saudis were one of the closest Arab allies in the phony “War on Terrorism so it made perfect sense for the Neo-Cons and why ”The Saudi government has consistently failed to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers and forced labourers. [15] Despite falling out with its oil-hungry allies it remains one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.

prop-35

© infrakshun

Ten years later and President Obama has at least taken the step to address this particular issue (if nothing else) stating in a recent speech for the Clinton Global Initiative: “For the first time, at Hillary’s direction, our annual trafficking report now includes the United States, because we can’t ask other nations to do what we are not doing ourselves.” (Once this is extended to almost every foreign and domestic policy in the US there may well be the kind of hope and change we can all believe in.)

Perhaps the most contentious response to human trafficking in the US is California’s recently passed Proposition 35 which has dropped like a large stone into a very complex set of influences that make up pornography, sex workers and human trafficking. The law exacts harsher sentences on human traffickers, requiring them to register as sex offenders and disclose internet activities and identities. The maximum sentence for traffickers is now 12 years with crimes involving children extended to a life sentence. For a first time offence the fines have increased from $100,000 to $1.5 million. [16]

Aside from the possibility that such huge sums would “wipe out traffickers’ assets and prevent victims from suing for restitution” Prop 35 also expands the trafficking definition to include the distribution of child pornography. If the reader recalls the difficulties and corruption associated with anti-sexuality and child pornography operations discussed previously we can see the same misunderstanding of the issues appearing in this legislation which probably does very little to either address the issues as to why trafficking is present in societies and on the increase. Although marketed as a bill targeting human traffickers it is actually targeting those most vulnerable and operating at the margins of society. Confusion stems from US states which have their own trafficking laws which blur the lines between existing laws covering child labour and prostitution. Much of the advocacy is concerned with purely increasing penalties and allocating more resources for Federal authorities to enforce these emerging laws. Relying on greater power for law enforcement to place more traffickers in prison amounts to bailing out a boat which fills up with water day and day out – the faster you do it the more water comes seeping in. Since Prop 35 is founded on the erroneous premise that tougher sentencing prevents crime it is destined to fail.

In response to the primary campaigner of Prop 35, John Vanek, a retired lieutenant from the San Jose Police Department’s human trafficking task force asked: “how has higher sentencing worked for our war on drugs on California? It may cut down on recidivism when that person is in custody, but it doesn’t prevent crime. That thinking is flawed…” [17]

Author and journalist Melissa Gira Grant’s excellent article on Prop 35 goes to the heart of the matter and reveals why US laws so often fail to address serious social problems due to ignorant, though well-intentioned wishes coupled with the inevitable politicization it attracts.

Backed by millions from Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook Chris Kelly and Daphne Phung, executive director of the new non-profit Californians Against Slavery who had no previous experience working on trafficking and no legal qualifications it follows the same pattern  of community (or celebrity) reaction against issues which need both the expertise and financial support of civic society not the Rule of Law as advocated by law enforcement and government who are more often than not taking a slice of the pie themselves aside from the legislative issues which give rise to the problems in the first place.

Rather than protecting Californians, Grant’s research has shown that “… it will expose their communities to increased police surveillance, arrest, and the possibility of being labeled a ‘sex offender’ for the rest of their lives.” What the anti-trafficking advocates are trying to legislate for in many states is a standard law along the lines of Prop 35 which is part of an emerging “war on trafficking.” If there is one thing that anyone worth their salt knows in law, justice and social work is that a “war” on anything never works – it only exacerbates the problem.

prostitution© infrakshun

Melissa Gira Grant explains that under the current Under Prop 35 legislation “… anyone involved in the sex trade could potentially be viewed as being involved in trafficking, and could face all of the criminal penalties associated with this redefinition of who is involved in ‘trafficking,’ which include fines of between $500,000 and $1 million and prison sentences ranging from five years to life.” Grant reminds us that this is quite apart from the mandatory registering as a sex offender which will mean the person accused will have to: “… surrender to lifelong internet monitoring: that is, turning over all of one’s ‘internet identifiers,’ which includes ‘any electronic mail address, user name, screen name, or similar identifier used for the purpose of Internet forum discussions, Internet chat room discussion, instant messaging, social networking, or similar Internet communication.’ ” [18]

The end result is that the conflation of the sex trade which will endanger sex workers and prove counterproductive for survivors of trafficking, where the merging of very different crimes that merit very different charges will inevitably produce many miscarriages of justice. Grant underlines the fact that retroactive charges will be enforced under the law which means: “… anyone in California convicted of some prostitution-related offenses as far back as 1944 to also register as a sex offender and submit to lifelong internet monitoring.” [19]

She relates the example of Naomi Akers, the Executive Director of St. James Infirmary, an occupational health and safety clinic run by and for sex workers in San Francisco, who [came] out hard against the bill. In a Facebook image that spread quickly through sex worker communities online, Akers wrote: “I have a previous conviction for 647a” – that is, lewd conduct, one of several common charges brought by California law enforcement against sex workers – “when I was a prostitute on the streets and if Prop 35 passes, I will be required to register as a sex offender.” [20]

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California were also against the Prop 35 precisely because: “the measure requires that registrants provide online screen names and information about their Internet service providers to law enforcement – even if their convictions are very old and have nothing to do with the Internet or children.” [21]

Finally, Grant summarizes the problem of moral panic in addressing societal issues which can so easily be used for the opposite of their intended purpose. She states: “Historically and to this day, these charges have been used disproportionately against women in sex work (cisgender and transgender), transgender women whether or not they are sex workers, and women of color, as well as gay men and gender non-conforming people. This is a misguided and dangerous overreach in a bill ostensibly aimed at protecting many of these same people.” [22]

And as one sex trade survivor worker commented on the nature of these laws: “It’s frightening. There’s a sense of emotional reaction, married to this really strong anti-sex worker rights agenda. And it’s playing on the public’s emotions.” [23]

This is exactly why it is so easy to keep the public and political change permanently ring-fenced from real transformation.

 

See also: Modern-Day Child Slavery: Sex Trafficking of Underage Girls in the US

 


Notes

[1]The Natashas: The New Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek, Arcade Publishing 2004.|ISBN: 1904132545.
[2] ‘Human trafficking a growing crime in the U.S.’ By Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press January 22, 2012.
[3] ‘UN-backed container exhibit spotlights plight of sex trafficking victims’. Un.org. February 6, 2008.
[4] ‘Dark Numbers: Challenges in measuring human trafficking’ By Erin O’Brien 2010 | http://www.polsis.uq.edu.au/dialogue/articleerin2.pdf
[5] ‘Global Sex Slavery’ by Seth Rosenreid, San Francisco Examiner, 6 April 1997.
[6]  Hidden Slaves: Forced Labour in the United States. A 2004 report from the Human Rights Center at University of California – Berkeley and the Free the Slaves organization, concerning contemporary trafficking and slavery in the United States.
[7] ‘The Abolitionist’ by Anne Morse, World Magazine, October 2004.
[8] ‘Women and Children First: The Economics of Sex Trafficking’ by Kari Lydersen, Women and Girls Prostitution Project, Center for Impact Policy Research, April 15, 2002.
[9] A largely Western influx of men are fuelling the demand for sex tourism. Many find their victims via the internet. An extract from one of these websites follows: “This web site is an interactive discussion and archive database dedicated to providing information about prostitution, escort services and sex tourism. Here you will find articles both past and present providing information about escorts throughout the world. This is not a porno site that boasts millions of “hardcore” images. Rather, it is a place where fellow hobbyists gather to share information with one another through real time discussion boards on a variety of topics that deal with prostitution, escort services and sex tourism.” Upon viewing some of the topics and “exploits” I found the first-hand accounts detail how and where to pick up often underage prostitutes by city and country.
[10] The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (2009) By: Linda A. Smith, Samantha Healy Vardaman and Melissa A. Snow for Shared Hope International | http://www.centerforchildwelfare2.fmhi.usf.edu/kb/humantraf/SHI_National_Report_on_DMST_2009%5B1%5D.pdf
[11] ‘Selling American Girls: The Truth About Domestic Minor Sex-Trafficking’ By Brooke Axtell Contributor, Forbes.com March 12, 2012.
[12] Latino Women and Children at risk: ‘The San Diego Child Sex Trafficking Scandal’ updated article: November 2005 by libertadlatina.org
[13] Statement of Joseph Mettimano Child Protection Policy Advisor, World Vision Before the Subcommittee on the Constitutional, Civil Rights and Property Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate July 7, 2004.
[14] ‘Anti-Sex-Slave Trafficking Program Underfunded’ newsday.com, January 2006.
[15]  ‘Bush Waives Saudi Trafficking Sanctions’, Associated Press, September 21, 2005.
[16] ‘Prop 35 Passes: California Voters Approve Harsher Sentencing For Human Traffickers’ The Huffington Post, By Anna Almendrala, November 7, 2012.
[17] ‘Proposition 35 All Sex is now called Human Trafficking’ By Melissa Gira Grant, Truth Out republished from RH Reality Check, a progressive online publication covering global reproductive and sexual health news and information.
[18] Ibid.a
[19] Ibid.b
[20] Ibid.c
[21] Ibid.d
[22] Ibid.e
[23] Ibid.f

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Rape: Corporate Camouflage and Across the Gender Divide

By M.K. Styllinski

“When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town.  But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder.  You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.”

– Deuteronomy 20:10-14


As the above Bible quotation illustrates, whether a psychopathic God, tribal leader or armchair geo-politician such as Henry Kissinger, rape and plunder can be used as powerful political tool.

To step down the implications of ponerology we can use the standard definition of rape where a male forces a female or another male to submit to sexual intercourse against his or her will. We can see that the act of rape is both a literal and metaphorical expression of the ponerisation of social systems. Definitions of rape, rates of reporting, collection of data, prosecution and conviction has led to rape being the most contested of all crime-related statistics. It is also considered the most under-reported crime due to socio-cultural stigmas; the individual’s distrust of the authorities (as well as their culture of denial) the prospect of facing the attacker in court and his or her own sense of shame.

According to a 2001-2002 United Nations report where government statistical data was compiled from over 65 countries 250,000 cases of male-female rape or attempted rape were recorded by police annually. [1]  The rate of rape may still be conservative when we consider that in cases where women whose husbands or boyfriends force them to have sex they are unlikely to say “yes” when asked whether or not rape has occurred. To make things worse, male-female rape is the only kind reported in some countries.

Award-winning journalist and human rights activist Jan Goodwin described the horrors in the Democratic Republic of Congo over ten years ago. Her article illustrates how so called “globalisation” is largely nothing more than an excuse to export more systems of neo-imperialistic exploitation. The myth of neo-liberal democracy continues to feed on the rest of the world, most notably in the war-weary continent of Africa where rape plays a strategic role in the fortunes of tribal warfare, governments and corporations.

Goodwin writes:

Last May, 6-year-old Shashir was playing outside her home near Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), when armed militia appeared. The terrified child was carried kicking and screaming into the bush. There, she was pinned down and gang-raped. Sexually savaged and bleeding from multiple wounds, she lay there after the attack, how long no one knows, but she was close to starving when finally found. Her attackers, who’d disappeared back into the bush, wiped out her village as effectively as a biblical plague of locusts.

‘This little girl couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk when she arrived here. Shashir had to be surgically repaired. I don’t know if she can be mentally repaired,’ says Faida Veronique, a 47-year-old cook at Doctors on Call for Service (DOCS), a tented hospital in the eastern city of Goma, who took in the brutalized child.

‘Why do they rape a child?’ asks Marie-Madeleine Kisoni, a Congolese counselor who works with raped women and children. “We don’t understand. There’s a spirit of bestiality here now. I’ve seen 2- and 3-year-olds raped. The rebels want to kill us, but it’s more painful to kill the spirit instead.’ [2]

And “killing the spirit” is the part of the armoury of corporate psychopathy, fostered and encouraged.

In the Eastern regions of the Congo gang rape still continues with the relatively new phenomena of “fistulas” caused by the introduction of objects such as sticks, pipes or gun barrels into the vagina, usually after repeated raping. These acts cause serious internal damage leading to the rupturing of the walls that separate the vagina and bladder or rectum. Instances of carefully shooting the victim in the vagina so that the woman or girl remains alive are increasing. Dr. Denis Mukwege, medical director of Panzi Hospital:  “The perpetrators are trying to make the damage as bad as they can, to use it as a kind of weapon of war, a kind of terrorism. Instead of just killing the woman, she goes back to her village permanently and obviously marked. ‘I think it’s a strategy put in place by these groups to disrupt society, to make husbands flee, to terrorize.” [3]

The age old, colonial formula came under some rare scrutiny by a UN Security Council panel which cited: “… eighty-five multinational corporations, including some of the largest US companies in their fields, for their involvement in the illegal exploitation of natural resources from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The commerce in these ‘blood’ minerals…drives the conflict. The brutality of the militias – the sexual slavery, transmission of HIV/AIDS through rape, cannibalism, slaughter and starvation, forced recruitment of child soldiers – has routinely been employed to secure access to mining sites or insure a supply of captive labor.” [4]

congovideowarchild.org

(click on the image above to watch the documentary)

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“A mother carries her children in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Forcibly displaced women face grave threats and abuse in the volatile region.” – ‘ Source: The Congolese rape victims a UNHCR officer will never forget’ By Francesca Fontanini in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo | Telling the Human Story, 3 September 2009.


UNICEF works with the same multinationals, which patronize and donate to many other leading NGOs and charities. Rape has always been a weapon of war, but now it has been recognised as an intentional tool rather than a by-product of conflict. As the author states, this is an international problem where the yolk of conscience that has long since seeped away.

As of 2013, this ponerological disease has begun to spread into the social infrastructure where reports of some teachers and senior officials raping school children in their care. According to a July 6th 2013 report by the Association Africaine de Défense des Droits de l’Homme (ASADHO)  “Young girls are regularly raped in schools” in Kinshasa with local police providing statistics for the town of Matadi. As the report outlined, the abuse is met: “… with authorities and the justice system remaining silent.”

Despite these horrors, there are dedicated people on the ground achieving minor and sometimes major successes. What acts as a constant brick-wall to progress is the governmental bureaucracy and corporate complicity which handicaps the long-term effectiveness of these breakthroughs. Successful prosecutions for these crimes are pitifully small and will remain so when human rights violations serve the corporate and banking interests. Ancient tribal divisions are purposely exacerbated and brought into sharp relief in order to monopolise the rich resources available in the African continent. This is now common knowledge and easily verified. Yet, at the time of the Rwanda genocide for instance, the media sought fit to paint such a human disaster as simple blood-lust fuelled by tribal racism that simply surfaced “out of the blue”. These deep insecurities and fears were brought to boiling point and unleashed on a nation precisely because vested interests knew where to apply the pressure so that corporate plunder could continue while Africa’s citizens were fully embroiled in killing each other. The divide and rule formula is nothing new, though the effects of lighting the tinder-box and the required atrocities can burn way out of control.

In 2012 the number of rapes rose dramatically due to various rebel militia groups upping the ante. The presence of Western corporations in DRC and their indirect funding of groups and militias to intentionally keep this resource-rich country destabilized is now a matter of record and has continued despite many commentators drawing our attention to the blatant hypocrisy on show. Unfortunately, until our socio-political system changes and changes radically, we can only expect the results of this neo-colonialism and its horrific effects to continue.

Across the Gender Divide

Though as much a reality as female rape, male rape is barely acknowledged as a problem, let alone an endemic one. In East Africa, where male rape is high, bringing the issue to light is hindered by the fact that homosexuality is still seen as a crime in 38 of the 53 African nations.

In a recent Observer article journalist Will Storr reported on male rape in Africa notably from victims in and around the Congo. Storr interviewed Eunice Owiny who is employed by Makerere University’s Refugee Law Project (RLP) in Kampala, Kenya “… to help displaced people from all over Africa work through their traumas.”  The situation, while horrific for women and children is all the more harrowing for men because no one wants to know. “They will probably be ostracised by friends, rejected by family and turned away by the UN and the myriad international NGOs that are equipped, trained and ready to help women. They are wounded, isolated and in danger. In the words of Owiny: ‘They are despised.’” [5]

Slowly victims are hearing of the services offered by RLP and attendance is rising rapidly. Storr met several young men out of more than 150 who had been raped and assaulted during conflict. He recounted the tale of one Jean-Paul, a student at university in Congo, who had been studying electronic engineering when his father – a wealthy businessman – was accused by the army of aiding the enemy and shot dead. Jean Paul fled in January 2009, only to be abducted by rebels. Along with six other men and six women he was marched to a forest in the Virunga National Park. Once captured Jean-Paul was taken deep into the jungle with the other women. While they were told to make coffee and fetch water, the rebels set up camp and then turned their attention to their new captives:

 ‘You are all spies,’ the commander said. ‘I will show you how we punish spies.’ He pointed to Jean Paul. “Remove your clothes and take a position like a Muslim man.”

Jean Paul thought he was joking. He shook his head and said: ‘I cannot do these things.’

The commander called a rebel over. Jean Paul could see that he was only about nine years old. He was told, “Beat this man and remove this clothes.’ The boy attacked him with his gun butt. Eventually, Jean Paul begged: ‘Okay, okay. I will take off my clothes.’ Once naked, two rebels held him in a kneeling position with his head pushed towards the earth.

At this point, Jean Paul breaks off. The shaking in his lip more pronounced than ever, he lowers his head a little further and says: “I am sorry for the things I am going to say now.” The commander put his left hand on the back of his skull and used his right to beat him on the backside “like a horse”. Singing a witch doctor song, and with everybody watching, the commander then began. The moment he started, Jean Paul vomited.

Eleven rebels waited in a queue and raped Jean Paul in turn. When he was too exhausted to hold himself up, the next attacker would wrap his arm under Jean Paul’s hips and lift him by the stomach. He bled freely: ‘Many, many, many bleeding,” he says, ‘I could feel it like water.’ Each of the male prisoners was raped 11 times that night and every night that followed. […]

It is for this reason that both perpetrator and victim enter a conspiracy of silence and why male survivors often find, once their story is discovered, that they lose the support and comfort of those around them. In the patriarchal societies found in many developing countries, gender roles are strictly defined. [6]

The most shocking aspect was revealed to Storr when he discovered that not only is “male sexual violence a component of wars all over the world” but that international aid organisations are failing victims. He quotes Lara Stemple’s study from the University of California which cites a review of 4,076 NGOs that have addressed wartime sexual violence. “Only 3 percent of them mentioned the experience of men in their literature. “Typically … ‘as a passing reference.’” [7]

RLP director Chris Dolan was not surprised: “The organisations working on sexual and gender-based violence don’t talk about it,” he says. “It’s systematically silenced. If you’re very, very lucky they’ll give it a tangential mention at the end of a report. You might get five seconds of: ‘Oh and men can also be the victims of sexual violence.’ But there’s no data, no discussion.” [8]

The reason that there is no discussion supports the data in this blog/book that there is gender bias that is now equal if not greater towards men than women in a variety of social and cultural domains, especially within charity and non-governmental organisations or as Dolan wryly points out: “There’s a fear among them that this is a zero-sum game; that there’s a pre-defined cake and if you start talking about men, you’re going to somehow eat a chunk of this cake that’s taken them a long time to bake.”

4d6bd2826© unknown


“There are no detailed statistics, but sexual violence against men and boys is increasingly being recognized as a protection concern in conflict and forced displacement situations.”

UNHCR issues guidelines on protection of male rape victims


Dolan also mentions a November 2006 UN report that followed an international conference on sexual violence in this area of East Africa where the authors insisted that the definition of rape was restricted to women, where even:  “… one of the RLP’s donors, Dutch Oxfam, refused to provide any more funding unless he’d promise that 70 percent of his client base was female. Another serious case of male rape was referred to the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR who told him: “We have a programme for vulnerable women, but not men.” (Happily, things are slowly beginning to improve.  For the first time, guidelines for UNHCR staff and other aid workers were issued in 2012 on: “… how to identify and support male victims of rape and other sexual violence in conflict and displacement situations.”)

Storr is reminded of a scene described by Eunice Owiny: “‘There is a married couple,’ she said. “The man has been raped, the woman has been raped. Disclosure is easy for the woman. She gets the medical treatment, she gets the attention, she’s supported by so many organisations. But the man is inside, dying.” Dolan agrees: “Part of the activism around women’s rights is: ‘Let’s prove that women are as good as men.’ But the other side is you should look at the fact that men can be weak and vulnerable.’ ” [9]

This gender bias and overt discrimination against men is a concurrent theme and represents a serious problem in organisations tasked to help all those suffering from human rights abuses.  It will need not just a radical change in the law to change such aberrations, but equally dramatic change in the very notion of economics and the unfettered powers of international banking. This is the form of globalisation which underpins almost all of our social ills and the eventual atrocities which inevitably occur. Unless the core issues are addressed humanitarian professionals who struggle daily to cope with these iniquities will be forever submerged in the tide of trans-national profits divorced from values and any accountability for their crimes.

It would also be a mistake to see the exploitation of ancient tribal feuds as an exclusively African problem. The same atrocities were witnessed in the former Yugoslavia where the primary drive for was the control of oil, weapons sales and the creation of a geo-strategic arena called Kosovo. This was also under the guise of an humanitarian effort.

Among countries which report these statistics, the United States has the highest rape rate, 4 times higher than that of Germany, and 20 times higher than that of Japan and 13 times higher than that of England, though the latter country’s rates are increasing with 5,000 children under sixteen raped every year. [10]  In 1991 alone there were estimated to be 700,000 rapes of adult women,[11] while 1 in 3 sexual assault victims are under the age of 12. [12] The figure for reported child rapes for the same year is 1.4 million. The first comprehensive report on the financial cost of rape has the highest annual victim costs at $127 billion per year with child abuse at $56 billion. [13] Unsurprisingly perhaps: “compared to their non-crime victim counterparts, three times more likely to develop major depression; 4.1 times more likely to have seriously contemplated suicide and 13 times more likely to have actually made a suicide attempt.” [14]

By 2008, the statistical counts and rates * of rape in each country has continued to rise with the US, taking the lead, followed by United Kingdom, France, Korea, Germany, the Russian Federation and Sweden representing some of the highest counts of rape. While Belgium, New Zealand, United States, Lesotho, Trinidad and Tobago and Sweden are reaching the highest rates of rape per year. However, even the United Nations report is far from definitive when we realise that there are differences between recording and reporting as well as difficulties in bringing to trial or being convicted as well. We must also include the disparity of definitions for rape around the world and the significant amounts of data still missing. Finally, even when reports of cases making it to court can be counted, less than half of those arrested for rape are convicted.[15]

High profile cases of false rape accusations by women and the oft quoted spectre of “date rape” in Western Europe have tarnished and distorted the acute problem of rape in society fuelling the idea that all rape is merely in the imagination of the female concerned. Such fraudulent claims only do harm to objective investigation to sexual assault overall and most certainly to those accused, often ruining lives in the process. Even if those accused are subsequently cleared, the damage is done, leading to stigmatization from colleagues and friends and in some cases resulting in suicide. According to UK Home Office research, between “…3 percent and 9 percent of all reports of rape are found to be false … with 16 and 25 making up both the largest group of victims and the accused.” [16]

Given the rise in narcissism within our societies – and women in particular – this may be, in some way connected. The law is also very different in the United Kingdom and the United States. In one case the British Court of Appeal dismissed a claim by a former nurse who was jailed for two years after falsely accusing a man she had met online. The presiding judge said that false allegations damage conviction rates of genuine rapes and are “terrifying” for innocent victims where: “False complaints of rape necessarily impact upon the minds of jurors trying rape cases.” [17]

In the US no appeals can take place because no such law exists for false rape claims. Of the 90,427 forcible rapes reported in 2007, 40 percent were cleared by arrest or “exceptional means.”  This translates as those suspects whom have died before an arrest can be made (not very common) the accusation of rape has been retracted (common) the suspect is held in another state with jurisdiction and extradition has been denied or evidence for a rape is non-existent. A percentage of rape complaints have been classified as “unfounded” by the police for decades and excluded from the FBI’s statistics. [18] Not exactly a scientific way of producing definitive data on such an important issue.

An article by Bruce Gross in the Forensic examiner described this anomaly in the following terms: “…there are no formal negative consequences for the person who files a false report of rape. Not only did the false allegation serve a purpose for the accusers, they actually never have to fully admit to themselves, their family, or their friends that the report was a lie. Although there are grounds for bringing legal action against the accuser, it is virtually never done. Even should a charge be filed, in most jurisdictions filing a false report is only a misdemeanor.” [19]

Present day figures on rape have increased. According to the UK Government’s Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls, 80,000 women are raped a year, and 400,000 women are sexually assaulted in the UK alone. [20] In 2012, thousands of women in India took to the streets to protest “endemic and unchecked violence against women” sparked by the death of a woman named Damini who had been gang-raped, dying of her injuries a few weeks later. An article in the UK Independent highlighted the fact that it is comforting to think that this is a strictly Indian or African problem when in fact, it is a convenient myth designed to brush what is a global problem, under the cultural carpet. One example from the developed nations of Europe came from France in 1999, where: “… two then-teenagers – named only as Nina and Stephanie – were raped almost every day for six months. Young men would queue up to rape them, patiently waiting for their friends to finish in secluded basements. After a three-week trial this year, 10 of the 14 accused left the courtroom as free men; the other four were granted lenient sentences of one year at most.” [21]

As we can see, the fluctuations of gender bias manifests in many different ways.

 


* “Counts” are raw numbers; the “rate” is the statistical average from that data.


Notes
[1] ‘The Eighth United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems’ (2001–2002) – Table 02.08 Total recorded rapes.
[2] ‘Silence = Rape’ By Jan Goodwin, The Nation, 2004.
[3] “More Vicious Than Rape” by Rod Nordland, Newsweek, November 13 2006.
[4] Ibid.
[5] ‘The rape of men ’By Will Storr, The Observer, July 2011.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] ‘Revealed: the horror of the 5,000 children under 16 raped every year’ by Denis Campbell, The Observer, May 14, 2006.
[11] ‘Minnesota Sex Offense Screening Tool – Revised’ by D. Epperson (2000) presented at Sinclair Seminars Sex Offenders Re-Offense Risk Prediction, Madison Sq. Wisconsin.
[12] The impact of violence on children. The Future of Children: 33-49.Snyder, H., Sickmund, M. Juvenile offenders and victims: 1999 national report. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
[13] In February 1996, the National Institute of Justice released the first comprehensive report on the cost of victimization. Data was gathered from criminal justice agencies, medical professionals, hospitals, insurance companies, mental health professionals, crime victim compensation programs, and crime victims, significant information is available about the immediate, short-term and long-term financial impact of victimization.
[14] US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Victims Assistance Academy 1996. Chapter 1. The Scope of Violent Crime and Victimization, Statistical overview.
[15] The Response to Rape : detours on the road to equal justice : by United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Congressional Sales Office, 1993. ISBN: 0160417872.
[16] ‘Forever Accused’ BBC News, February 12, 2008.
[17] ‘Prison ‘inevitable’ for false rape claims’ by Tom Whitehead, The Telegraph, October 30, 2009.
[18] Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (2008d). Percent of crimes cleared by arrest or exceptional means, 2007. (Clearance Figure). Uniform Crime Report: Crime in the United States, 2007. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offense/ clearances/index.html#figure.
[19] ‘False Rape Allegations: An Assault on Justice’ By Bruce Gross, PhD, JD, MBA, The Forensic Examiner, September 15, 2009.
[20] ‘Sexual violence is not a cultural phenomenon in India – it is endemic everywhere’ The Independent December 30, 2012. |/www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/sexual-violence-is-not-a-cultural-phenomenon-in-india.
[21] Ibid.

The “Structural Adjustment Team” II

“The WTO has rapidly accumulated a sordid record. Binding decisions from its enforcement tribunals have undermined consumer and environmental protections around the world. TNCs have used the threat of WTO action to roll back or block countless rules designed to benefit workers, consumers and the environment, and to promote human rights and development in the world’s poorest countries. But all this has been predicted long before the WTO came into formal effect. From the outset GATT was seen as a “rich man’s club” dominated by Western industrial countries.”

Znet / Z mag.org, 12/28/04


wtoThe World Trade Organisation slithered into view much later in 1995 replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The WTO’s mandate is to make sure that the free market has unfettered access to all and everything under the banner of free trade. International trade restrictions are to be reduced or done way with completely. This means a free ride for corporations once they claim their country.

The World Bank does exactly what its name implies: an international institution that gives loans to developing countries in order to improve their socio-economic standing and eradicate poverty. At least, that’s the official line if you believe the BBC and other MSM outlets. At the most basic level of interpretation, the interests which dominate the bank are drawn from Neo-liberal economic perception rooted in the Establishment classes which means that their interests dominate over all else. Though the World Bank represents 186 countries it is governed and funded by a powerful few, namely the United States and the G8 nations. It is thus tied to the formation of an economic order that conforms to their reality and no one else’s, the evidence of which is obvious for all to see. It is an immediate contradiction in terms that the reduction of poverty is formulated from an economic order which can only increase it.

One only has to look at the past and traditionally American presidents of the World Bank to understand the biased economic and corporate beliefs behind the dispensing of loans. These have included from 1991-1995: JP Morgan bank executive Lewis T. Preston; from 1995-2005: corporate lawyer and banker Sir James Wolfensohn; 2005-2007: Neo-Conservative and Iraq war strategist, US Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz and from 2007: the present incumbent Robert Zoellick former Bank executive with Goldman Sachs, Deputy Secretary of State and US Trade Representative. The eight international development goals that 193 United Nations member states and over 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. The World Bank has also agreed to commit itself to these goals which are to:

  • Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
  • Reduce Child Mortality
  • Improve Maternal Health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Other Diseases
  • Ensure Environmental Sustainability
  • Develop a Global Partnership for Development [1]

Tragically, (though certain members of the World Bank are entirely cognizant of this fact) eradicating poverty long-term is unlikely to be achieved because the World Bank actively creates it. That is not to say that great gains have not been made before the Global Economic Crisis. (GEC) According to the UN fact sheet “…the world is on track to meet the MDG target of halving the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day between 1990 and 2015.” While this is great news, to make sure this is a lasting change leading to the eradication of poverty and hunger and not just a peak in the overall trough of global economic fortunes, the very nature of economics has to change so that the crises such as we have witnessed in 2008 and onwards do not send the achievements plummeting back to former figures.

Since these achievements, by the UN’s own admission is largely due to the “extraordinary success in Asia, mostly East Asia” based on exactly the same banking and economic model of the West then it can only offer the same eventual boom and bust scenarios which have long been part of Western capitalist “growth” and the environmental and social problems attached to them. Thanks to the GEC global unemployment has rocketed as it does with any crisis. Consequently, while extreme poverty has been reduced, halving the levels of hunger is proving much more difficult, with only intermittent change.

Similarly, reducing child mortality, combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other disease cannot hope to have lasting results because the World Bank cannot recognise that all related problems largely stem from the economics has largely been absorbed into the underworld of systemic crime which has effectively become the “overworld.”

To ensure environmental sustainability the World Bank must redesign its economic framework to such an extent that there would be little reason for it to exist. The millennium goals are a world class oxymoron for most if not all institutions and organisations shackled by the very same myopic mind-set seen from those who inhabit the leather chairs of World Bank offices. A “Global Partnership for Development” under World Bank terms can only mean a continuing strategy for corporatism. If their basic economic directives do not change then neither do the consequences for most of the global population, despite G8 countries being willing to cut billions of owed debt from their books. [2]

All this may sound desperately cynical on my part. But you see, if you the UN is still encased in the same economic box, then any long-term alleviation of poverty, hunger and mortality rate will logically be dependent on the those highly unstable fluctuations which characterise the financial architecture of the globe. Nothing less than a radical overhaul of the very concept of banking and commerce is needed. Micro-credit and micro-banking is one example and a great step forward in this direction. [3]

The World Bank is the largest source of development finance in the world and has an impressive (or iniquitous depending on your view) record of large-scale engineering, reconstruction and infrastructure projects in developing countries. More regional and local projects have also been financed including roads, bridges, dams and pipelines which often go hand in hand with the extraction of natural resources and the presence of corporations lingering in the background.

The World Bank, The IMF, the WTO and the United Nations have helped to create, augment and sustain the current global financial architecture and its various social iniquities while offering occasional bursts of short-term relief in the guise of numerous social programs and initiatives. Seldom do they address the root causes of national and international socio-economic problems. Counter to the prevailing view that these post war institutions offer at least a partial amelioration of global problems, we can see that they are in fact, representatives of a Global Official Culture dressed up in humanitarian goals.

The above is the standard interpretation of the organisation which is enough in itself to petition for change. However, it goes deeper than that.

Former insider and one-time Senior Counsel Karen Hudes knows how the World Bank lies to run things. A graduate of the Yale Law School with over 20 years of experience in the legal Department at the World Bank and founder of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association and the Committee on Multilateralism and the Accountability of International Organizations of the American Branch of the International Law Association, Hudes knows about her subject extremely well.  During a May 2013 interview with journalist Alex Newman of New American magazine she was explicit as to how the mechanism of corruption is allowed to keep functioning and who is responsible. The article, entitled: ‘World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve’ reports that the domination of the global financial system, according to Hudes is sourced from: “…a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained.” The New American continues:  “Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success.”

The article goes on to describe the basis of this control system:

“Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the ‘network of global corporate control,’ Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. ‘What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group, she explained, adding that the ‘corrupt power grabbers’ have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.’

According to the peer-reviewed paper, which presented the first global investigation of ownership architecture in the international economy, transnational corporations form a ‘giant bow-tie structure.’ A large portion of control, meanwhile, ‘flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions.’ The researchers described the core as an ‘economic ‘super-entity’ that raises important issues for policymakers and researchers. Of course, the implications are enormous for citizens as well.

[…] ‘I realized we were now dealing with something known as state capture, which is where the institutions of government are co-opted by the group that’s corrupt,’ she told The New American in a phone interview. “The pillars of the U.S. government — some of them — are dysfunctional because of state capture; this is a big story, this is a big cover up.’

At the heart of the network, Hudes said, are 147 financial institutions and central banks — especially the Federal Reserve, which was created by Congress but is owned by essentially a cartel of private banks. ‘This is a story about how the international financial system was secretly gamed, mostly by central banks — they’re the ones we are talking about,” she explained. ‘The central bankers have been gaming the system. I would say that this is a power grab.’ ” [Emphasis mine]

Rather than seeing this as a case of conspiratorial fever or a left-right political agenda being played out, it is far better to simply accept that Hudes – as have so many other whistleblowers in recent times – simply stated the objective reality of what she experienced, confirming what so many outsiders suspected after witnessing first-hand the trail of devastation it has produced.

If we know, then we may change it.

Perhaps we can see why the psychopath in society has played a large part in creating and maintaining the economic architecture which is still ruining lives. Psychologist and leading authority on the psychopath Dr. Robert Hare stated that if he could not study psychopaths in prison, his next best choice would be a Stock Exchange. If people are no more than units of labour consumption and values have no meaning at all when set against the personal power and corporate greed then it goes some way to explaining why such consistently toxic systems continue to ravage humanity and its home. As normal human beings try to compete in a system that is favoured towards the human predator it is inevitable that they are pushed to the periphery to become the minority rather than the majority. If there are four times more psychopaths at the head of large corporations than in the general population it means they immediately have a huge advantage in obtaining whatever it is they want, which is usually everything.

 


Notes

[1] http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/MDG_FS_1_EN.pdf
[2] “G8 Finance Ministers agreed in June 2005 to provide enough funds to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the African Development Bank (ADB) to cancel an additional $40–55 billion debt owed by members of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) to allow impoverished countries to re-channel the resources saved from the forgiven debt to social programs for improving health and education and for alleviating poverty.” United Nations Millennium Development Goals website, 16 June 2009. This is an example. One can cancel 100billion of debt but if the same directives remain in place then so too will the next generation of victims. They will re-channel their resources so that they can be ready to take the next set of measures to keep them dancing to the WB, IMF and WTO tune.
[3] Microcredit or Microfinance: United Nations declared 2005 to be the International Year of Microcredit and the founders of the microcredit movement were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. For more articles see: New York Times: ‘Tiny Loans Make a Big Difference in Lives of Poor’ | http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/29/technology/29venture.html | USA Today/Associated Press: Microcredit pioneers win Nobel Peace Prize – http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-10-13-norway-nobel_x.htm | Wall Street Journal: A new way to do well by doing good – http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06005/633114.stm | BusinessWeek: ‘Microfinance funds lift poor entrepreneurs—and benefit investors’| http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_19/b3932134_mz070.htm | The Economist: ‘Microcredit in India, High finance benefits the poor’ – http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=2413549