police entrapment

The Politics of Entrapment III: Inquisition or Protection?

“Sex. In America an obsession. In other parts of the world a fact.”

– Marlene Dietrich


We looked at the Landslide case and Operation Ore in the last post both of which are classic examples of police entrapment in the UK and the US. The defining attributes of entrapment related to child porn hasn’t changed much as we continue through to 2015.  What has become apparent when one reviews hundreds of entrapment cases related to internet paedophilia and child rape networks is the inherent mismanagement and corruption which seems to go with it. The incompetence is often so bad, that the only conclusion is that terror acts and sexual abuse is both prevented, permitted and created as a triangle of industry.

We may be willing to assign the possibility that much of the child porn that is present on the net is controlled by the police and intelligence agency departments in order to act as entrapment operations. So, if you are one of those inclined to view pornography – whatever the moral arguments – and find yourself face to face with an advertisement which appears mysterious or ambiguous, or even explicitly details child porn (including the private peer to peer confines of the so-called “Dark Net”) then the odds are higher that it will be a police entrapment set up.

The labelling of child porn and the moral panic surrounding it, will serve as one of many templates to Machiavellian deception that is so common amongst those who appear to be “protecting” us. The definitions of child pornography set down by America are so broad and vague that it has caused enormous confusion as to what exactly constitutes an obscene image. It is true to say now that the fear and paranoia induced has reached such proportions that mothers and fathers are fearful of taking photos of their naked child or exhibiting nude images where art is the primary driver.

Art, like innocence, has been debased by those who claim to champion its protection. By lumping sexual abuse and child porn into a category that includes artistic renditions of, for example, naked children through photography, is to demean the very nature and appreciation of beauty and the celebration of what it means to live in a free society as oppose to an absolutist one.  As one writer on this subject mentioned: “If images of beautiful nude children are as much pornographic as those of children being raped, then while the beautiful are criminalized the pornographic are made less criminal.” [1]
And then on the other side of the coin, we have the sexualisation of children and young adults occurring in the music, fashion and obviously the accessbility of entrepreneurial amateur porn. These create conflicting messages indeed for everyone, let alone children.

 Irish author and journalist Brian Rothery casts further doubt on the figures bandied about by some police and child abuse advocates. A graph was created from a range of internet research sources which were then used to display the relationships between sites known to contain child porn and all sites on the Internet. Figures revealed make interesting reading:

“… 5 million total sites, 3.5 million public sites and 8,700 CP sites. The 1.5 million difference between public and total is made up of private sites, mainly corporate where one requires a password (not CP sites requiring passwords). The difference in number between the CP and other sites is so great that on a normal graph page, the CP does not register. It is one fifth of one percent – 0.02 percent.

But now let us examine that figure more closely. First the 8,700 contains many duplications, as images are copied. Let us assume that 20 percent of them share images in differing mixes. This reduces the number of CP sites to 7,000. Many of the CP sites move. xyz.com hosted in Brazil one day can appear as abc.kg hosted in, say, Russia the next, and be counted as two within the analysis period. Say 10percent move, reducing the number to 6,300.

There are more sites with child nudity and child erotica, which may be judged by the analysts as CP, than there are real CP sites. A good guess would be most of them. Let’s say 4,000, leaving 2,300. Now for simulated and artificially created images, such as Japanese Hentai, where no real children are photographed, and which many defenders of free expression say should not be criminalized, but, that argument aside, do not involve porn with real children. A conservative guess would be around 6,000, maybe more. This leaves between one or two and 300 CP sites. Let’s take the upper figure. We do not know what jurisdiction in the world would not arrest the hosters and makers of these 300 sites but what we do know is that some of our brave censors have worked hard to find the few that have existed. If there are 300, they make up 0.0007 percent of the total number of web sites on the Internet.[2] [Emphasis mine]

What could be the other motives for capitalising on the promotion of fake child porn websites?

Returning to the UK/US Landslide case under Operation Ore which spawned many other child pornography “crackdowns” the subscriber database and all of the other main Landslide FBI/prosecution files show an interesting precedent never revealed to the defence. Researchers at inquisition21.com have discovered that “… credit cards, however obtained, whether from attempts to access adult sites over Landslide, generated by a program or simply stolen, were ‘jumped’ to so-called ‘child porn’ sites.” The rogue webmasters in question “… used the transaction to charge (defraud) the owner and, because of the extreme names of the sites charged to, embarrass the owner into not complaining about the $30 or so robbed in each transaction.” They compromised the credit card owners by:“‘… incriminating their computers with illegal images. Whilst people believed they were signing up to legitimate adult sites, in reality they were signing up to illegal sites. Forensically, the user’s computer would appear totally incriminating – the signup and the images. This was almost a perfect crime, and this has happened in at least one high profile case.’ ” [3]

The inevitable conclusion is that the payment system was designed to automatically switch from adult to child pornography sites which meant that people were arrested for nothing more than their site names. The fact that the sites did not exist seemed immaterial. Inquisition 21 Group saw the programming codes on the rogue sites that allowed the victims to be jumped to illegal sites and were in doubt that both the UK and Irish police should have seen them.

There are many seeking an earnest appraisal of the subject of child porn just as they are with the roots causes of terrorism. However, both are areas suffering from information dominance and prone to co-option by Establishment agencies for their own purposes. This is due primarily to the high yields of emotional capital available. When there is a probability for collective reaction to a controversial subject then the opportunities are always there to engineer that reaction. High octane emotions and fear are easily channelled. That being the case, clearly distinguishing what constitutes a crime and what may be erotic exploration and innocent art is presently fraught with difficulty due to new legislation and the ubiquity of entrapment set ups.  When civil rights groups and law enforcement agencies become the sole mediators of what constitutes erotic art and child porn, it is a dark day indeed for freedom.

Most people know that there is a huge difference between child pornography that depicts the rape and abuse of a child or infant and the celebration of childhood which may or may not include children  … (gasp) without clothes. There will also always be those who position themselves in the grey area that encourages extreme laws such as pre-teen websites that are ostensibly a pictorial diary that neither include nudity or anything remotely close to porn.[4] However, it certainly could be said to be pandering to paedophiles and those with paedophilic tendencies. Yet, knowing that this is unsavoury, it is not illegal or criminal. In a world that is teetering on a soft form of totalitarianism in all domains, it is an important distinction. Labelling ordinary people “sex offenders” or “suspected terrorists” is becoming easier and easier for police and law-makers. As we shall see in later posts this may well be the overarching objective.

What we have now is yet another form of self-righteous, dogma against imagery that does not conform to evangelical principles. The criminalisation of artistic or dramatic representation; objective intellectual examination and speculation – even thoughts, if they are written down or recorded – are now seen as grounds for prosecution with the sex offender register beckoning.  Once again, that is not to say that child pornography may not be on the rise. This was true enough during the raids from the UK Operation Cathedral where torture and degradation was visited on many children and infants. But caution and the utmost scepticism must remain regarding the causes for such operations, based on the evidence so far. This is especially true if we are not see such operations being politicised so that they are used to imprison dissidents and those who threaten to expose the deep black nature of the political and intelligence apparatus.

sallymann

From the cover of Sally Mann’s: ‘Immediate Family’ which included nude photos of her children. It was lauded by critics as “beautiful” but condemned by the American religious right as pornography. http://sallymann.com/

At this stage it should be no surprise that in the Landslide case and others, the data base of credit card subscribers handed over to overseas police by US authorities, notably the FBI, were found to have had the names of prominent members of government and institutional officials removed, leaving only minor local level politicians, media and celebrity names. These were never raided in the US with authorities stating no evidence of fraud was found.

Could it be that factions within US law enforcement agencies are doing what they historically do best and creating crime for the purposes of blackmail and propaganda “success” stories in exactly the same way that police and British intelligence were doing under Thatcher’s government?  Are elements within police and judiciary, government and intelligence doing so in order to faciliate the creation of a new industry and convenient smokescreen to protect high level child abusers?

According to inquisition 21 researchers this is not in the realm of conspiracy, simply a case of historical fact. As they mention: “It should not be [a surprise] when we already know that virtually all of the child pornography on the Internet today is published by the US police for entrapment purposes.” [5]

Consider a Southern California Police seminar in 1990 where “… LAPD’s Toby Tyler proudly announced that law enforcement agencies were now the sole reproducers and distributors of child pornography.” Author James Kincaid confirm the statement from his own experiences in 2000:

“Several speakers at an L.A. police seminar I attended a few years back laughingly admitted that the largest collection of child porn in the country is in the hands of cops, who edit and publish it in sting operations. There is at most, they say, a small cottage industry among civilians in which pictures (most of them vintage) are traded.” And internet abuse expert John Carr:  “‘I have only seen child pornography twice in my life and then it was at conferences and I was shown it by the police.’” […] There may well be a consensus on the principle of child porn, but there is little consensus on what constitutes child porn.” [6]

The child exploitation industry has now fused with the police directed NGOs. On Monday 24 July 2006, the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, (CEOP) was launched. Director Jim Gamble believes the way forward is to create fake paedophile websites over which ‘undercover’ officers will pose as children on Internet chat rooms. This reflects more of the FBI’s already active in chat-room entrapment operations in both the Americas and Asia. Creating paedophiles where there are none is as effective as searching for and blackmailing those that are, especially when they reside in the lower rungs of the Establishment.

Is the US/UK Establishment creating a virtual CoIntelpro operation using the child exploitation industry as yet another tool for control while increasing a climate of paranoia and fear?

In March 2011, possibly the biggest online global paedophile ring was smashed by Euro-authorities after extensive operation to ensnare members within a global forum – boylover.net – who had up to 70,000 members. Some 670 suspects were identified worldwide, nearly 200 of whom have been arrested. It seems such operations will be continuing well into the future for a variety of complex reasons, where one would hope the protection of the child is the overriding priority.  [7]  “Child porn” may be another label for which the old boys’ network can justify more jobs while actually creating predators and encouraging them to commit certain crimes, thus serving to bury the real child pornography which does exist though possibly in fewer quantities than we were led to believe and hidden more deeply in the encrypted software “vaults” of high society.

America is leading the way in cases of child porn prosecution. The legitimacy of certain sting operations are certainly open to question but the key issue is the the use of entrapment and the rise of pre-crime.  Fused together this is another symptom of society under attack from psychopathological thinking which in turn it leading us down the road to Pathocracy.

inquisition“Inquisition” by Goya

That child pornography exists is beyond question. The extent to which it can be used as a tool for social control is less understood.

The notorious Attorney General Ed Meese back in the late 70s early 80s ironically, may have been the first to be given the mission to heighten the existence of child porn in society. One scenario for this was to create a climate of law breakers, to foster fear and retribution and to further lead America into a state of decline. Commensurate with Kinseyian and Freudian programming, this ensured that society became more decadent than it really was.

In effect, the US government itself may have become one of the mainstays of child pornography. In much the same way as narcotics and arms, it filled a role of both purveyor and habitual user which continues to this day.  Sting operations are initiated to turn around the possible fall in child pornography crime, where the would-be purchasers are actively solicited and eventually prosecuted under new laws.

Writer Jim Peron, a writer and bookseller based in Auckland, New Zealand states:

First, the age limit was raised from 16 to 18 placing the United States outside the Western mainstream. An entire class of publications, which previously had been legal, were now illegal. Publications which were purchased legally in the United States became illegal overnight without the bulk of owners being aware of the change.

Second, Congress dropped the requirement that something be “obscene” before being classified as child pornography. Now the law was so broadly written that family snapshots of a nude child playing in the bath, could be prosecuted—and were!

Third, it was no longer necessary to produce or distribute the newly banned material. Mere possession was now illegal. [8]

Peron goes on to describe how the government created dozens of phony companies and began soliciting people to purchase the material. Government agencies would send brochures under a fake company name to the individual they targeted and in most cases, proceed to relentlessly pester the individual until a sale was made. The police would place adverts in adult publications pretending, for example, to be a woman with a young daughter. This “woman” would then solicit correspondence from men until the men finally decided to buy the material. Prosecutions soared and the moral majority were exulted. However, the problem was, as Attorney Lawrence Stanley pointed out: “…the line between law enforcement and inducing law-breaking has become highly blurred, as undercover “friends” encourage the forbidden fantasies of their targets and sell or send them child pornography after a great deal of prodding. In some cases, the forbidden fantasies are those of the investigating agent.” [9]

Government sting operations included setting up shop as bonafide pornography outlets which were actively peddling child porn and other hardcore images sourced from the belief that the US was under attack from a veritable legion of pimps and paedophiles.  According to Peron, John O’Mally a customs agent created a company called “Produit Outaouais” which offered photos and videos: “The government officials would reproduce photos of young children and mail them to individuals they targeted. Newsweek reported: ‘Together with similar stings run by the US Postal Service over the past few years, federal agents have become major traffickers in kiddie porn.’ In this sting operation alone two individuals who were entrapped by O’Malley committed suicide; one a 25-year-old student and the other an attorney.” [10]

We have seen the harassment of artists, parents and ordinary family members taking nude pictures of their children under entirely natural and loving circumstances. This was turned into something sordid and degrading in the minds of the prosecutors resulting in untold trauma for all those targeted. Under the guise of “protection” these laws are further eroding civil liberties both in the United States and the UK. In spite of this, the same Lawrence Stanley was arrested for paedophilia, whilst Jim Peron was also caught out in March 2005 when The Society For the Promotion of Community Standards Inc. triumphantly outed Peron’s agenda in publishing the article. According to the society which upholds censorship issues, Peron, sold a journal called Unbound (Vol. 1 No. 4) at his Free Forum Books in San Francisco in 1985. The Society, seeking a classification, further stated that the journal was: “readily available to the public in Mr Peron’s bookshop along with the ‘pro-paedophile journal’ NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association).” [11]

The previous owner of the bookshop, Eric Garris, apparently confronted Peron about his “pro-paedophilia” material recounting that “Mr Peron confirmed that Free Forum Books published it.” Detailed within the journal were the objections against a police raid subsequently carried out on Peron’s bookshop where copies of Unbound and other pro-paedophilia publications were seized “in the course of an on-going investigation into David Simons (a part-time employee of Mr Peron’s, who was later arrested, convicted and jailed for 16 years for committing sex-offences against children).” [12]

Peron rather unconvincingly denies anything untoward though admitted he wrote an article “Abused: One Boy’s Story” which he said was used without his permission, defending his piece in lieu of the fact that there was no explicit sexual content while denying that he was referring to paedophiles when using the term “boy lover”. He also further denied involvement with the journal claiming that: “Unbound was published by another person who rented a back office from his former bookstore.” [13]  In the Society’s view and many others, Peron was in fact the editor-in-Chief of Unbound and was trying to wriggle out of the spotlight.

It becomes a little more disturbing when we know that Peron’s source was the aforementioned attorney Lawrence Stanley, who specialised in defending those accused of child pornography and who was arrested in Brazil, charged with child exploitation. Infiltrating the law was not his only speciality. Stanley had “built an international business photographing Brazilian girls and selling their photos through the Internet.” One of these sites: “…featured photos of girls ages 8 to 14 in what police Officer Rui Gomes described to the Associated Press as ‘sensual poses.’ Police said Stanley paid the girls $20 to $40 for each photo session. An official of the Brazilian Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for information on Stanley’s case.” [14]

Though typical of the smoke and mirror operations perpetrated against the public, it is the greatest irony to allow those questioning tactics and statistics regarding child porn to be those that benefit from a greater relaxation of the laws. It amounts to the same ruse when white supremacists cry foul against the discrepancies of Zionist deceptions thereby cancelling out any veracity of the original authorship and research. In other words, these become straw man arguments designed to deflect heat away from the subjects in question.

Once again, the public is none the wiser and the abuse continues.

 


Notes

[1] ‘The Crimen Exceptum of our era….’ Stop the insanity | http://www.rogerisright.blogspot.co.uk
[2] Inquistion 21st Century – ‘Child Pornography’ | www. inquisition.com/
[3] ‘New evidence will also undermine Operation Amethyst’ http://www.inquisition21.com.
[4] ‘Legal child porn’ under fire MSNBC By Mike Brunker March 28 2002 — “The photos of 12-year-old “Amber” cavorting in a swimsuit and various skimpy outfits wouldn’t have raised so much as an eyebrow if they had been posted on a family home page. But on lilamber.com — one of a growing number of “preteen model” sites operating in the legal gray area between innocent imagery and child pornography — they have drawn the attention of the Justice Department and prompted a congressman to declare war on the “reckless endangerment” of such kids by their parents and Web site operators.”
[5] ‘The crime exceptum’ inquisition21.com.
[6] Ibid.
[7] ‘Global paedophile ring smashed, say police’ Euro News, http://www.euronews.com March 16, 2011.
[8] “The Claptrap Over Child Porn” by Jim Peron, The Laissez Faire Electronic Times: Part 2: The US Government Enters the Child Porn Business’,vol. 2, no. 19, May 12, 1987/2003.
[9]   Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Classify “Pro-Paedophilia Journal” Unbound Thursday, 31 March 2005, Press Release: Society For Promotion Of Community Standards Inc. New Zealand.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid.
[14] ‘Lawyer arrested in Brazil charged with child exploitation’ By Robert Stacy McCain The Washington Times, July 24, 2002.

The Politics of Entrapment II: Ambiguities and “Ado71”

entrapmentWe briefly looked at the United Kingdom’s imbedded Establishment abuse within Westminster and Whitehall and the idea of blackmail and entrapment operating within paedophilia networks. In order to gain a bigger picture of the patterns of abuse and how entrapment and child rape networks operate we need to go slightly further afield and cast our (somewhat jaundiced) eye back to what’s been happening in the last two decades.

1996 was the year that saw a veritable explosion of abuse cases at local, national and international levels. One of the fall-out investigations during the Dutroux-Nihoul case was “Operation Ado71” launched in 1997 by French law enforcement authorities in the Department of Saone-et-Loire, Burgundy in the town of Macon. After one of the biggest crackdowns on organised child abuse seen in France, over sixty men were detained, five of whom subsequently committed suicide, some say due to the “name and shame” policy so favoured in much of Europe and America. Others mention the possibility of a high level mopping up of loose ends leading to members of the French Establishment. Whether these men were driven to take their own lives due to the shame of being caught while also guilty, the shame of being caught while innocent or that they were dispatched for harbouring secrets, can only be speculation. More often than not, it is a mixture of all three.

The accused were brought to court in March 2000, one of whom was Bernard Alapetite the chief executive of “Platypus”, a Paris publishing company, and was found guilty of copying and supplying foreign, child porn videos. He received three years, while suspended jail terms ranging from two to six months were given to more than 50 others. Some of the videos consisted of the rapes of boys under 15 and “young children having sex with animals” which made Alapetite a tidy profit “selling them for between £80 and £100 each…” [1] Meantime, those that were scooped up in the paedophilia trawl had allegedly all bought child porn videos from Alapetite’s mail order company as well as sex shop outlets.

What was disturbing about these suspects was the lack of discrimination as to what constituted “just cause” not least, the process by which the suspects were rounded up:

For example:

“One was a retired schools inspector who had bought his sole cassette 25 years ago ‘because morals were degenerating and I wanted to find out how and why.’

Several others produced medical evidence showing that they had long recognised their ‘deviant tastes’ and ‘attraction for young boys,’ but had never molested anyone and had been undergoing psychiatric treatment.

‘I have never molested a child in my life,’ sobbed one retired office worker during the trial. ‘I am on medication. I bought two cassettes from a catalogue. And now my children and my grandchildren will not speak to me.’

Almost half the suspects claimed they were not guilty of any crime. Some pointed out that their tapes had been seized during a previous operation by the Paris vice squad, and subsequently returned to them as perfectly legal.” [2]

To some this may appear a minor irrelevance and indicative of manipulative behaviour from those whose predispositions to abuse must be given no quarter. Nonetheless, one has to question the after effects of an operation that required more than 2,500 police who searched 800 homes, questioned 700 men and detained 300 suspects leading to the jailing of one supplier and distributor. Most of the men in the Macon case were also homosexual and the “children” in the videos looked between sixteen and eighteen years old. Pederasty over paedophilia maybe. And further, as Le Monde Journalist Jean-Michael Dumay stated during the trial:

“… Why should anybody be criminally liable for their failure to correctly determine the precise age of somebody appearing in a video cassette, as about a third of the defendants were accused of? […] ‘…the only criterion is their subjective appearance.’ Once again the experts in the case were not medically qualified but photography technicians and further: “A significant proportion of the defendants claimed they had acquired the cassettes in good faith not through Alapetite’s network but from sex shops that had them on sale openly and guaranteed that the performers were not underage; indeed some of them had been deposited in the National Library as required by law.” [3]

As stated in the above report concerning evidence presented in court at the time, not only did one of the producers offer affidavits to the police from the performers themselves but evidence from a previous case which collected so called child porn cassettes were, in fact, nothing of the kind and were included in the present case as admissible. None of this was taken up by the prosecution. Dumay makes a strong case that this was closer to religious persecution of homosexuals than a real clampdown on child abuse. He illustrates this by highlighting the knee-jerk nature of our society when a collection of photographs showing mutilated children’s genitals turned up on the list of customers for cassettes where the original uncovered network was elevated to a much more serious and urgent criminal status. In actual fact: “… the photographs had been collected by an association campaigning against the circumcision of children that had nothing to do with the video cassettes.” [4] Much of the guilt then rests on one of voyeurism and rather than paedophilia. Though it may yet arrive, as far as I know, pornography is not illegal.

The internet does provide an outlet to those individuals that are paedophiles and child molesters. Nonetheless, what someone does on-line does not necessarily mean that this is what they desire in the real world. This is the point of fantasy:  to escape. Sexual discussions carried out online do not always come from those with a pre-disposition for sexual deviancy. As we explored in previous posts, human beings are psychologically complex, yet police operations do not reflect this complexity and are confusing the whole idea of predatory sexual behaviour. France’s judicial system appears to be exhibiting the same symptoms currently being expressed in police state America.

computercufflinks© infrakshun

Author and attorney Andrew Vachss has discussed the issue of homosexuality and predatory paedophilia when he said: “The existence of NAMBLA helped perspectify some of the insane lies that the media perpetrated. So, for example, a male kindergarten teacher has sex with a little boy—the newspapers would report this as “homosexual” child abuse. If his target was a little girl, they wouldn’t call it ‘heterosexual’ child abuse.”  Vachess also mentioned the lack of any evidence that homosexuals are naturally paedophiles. Pederasty might blur the line, but paedophilia and homosexuality are not synonymous much as many anti-gay conservatives would like to believe. Once again, the issue here is moral panic, politicisation and psychopathy which traverses all sexual preferences.

Vachss observes:

“There are too many Americans who believe that homosexuals are potential pedophiles, and, indeed, that pedophiles are homosexuals run amok. Not only is that not true, but the only way to combat it is to have the evidence to actually place before a court or a committee or an organization.

The myth that a male who has sex with a male child is a homosexual—as opposed to a predatory pedophile—is endemic. I think that myth is all over the place. And I would say that that’s actually the average person’s perception of it. More common than not.” [5]

Press coverage of innocent persons accused of viewing child porn have been high. Pop band Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja was “caught in the sweep” of Operation Ore, where his number was found on a list of 7,300 UK-based credit card numbers passed on to the national crime squad by the FBI. He was subsequently vilified through the UK tabloids before all charges were dropped and found entirely innocent. [6] UK Actor and chat show host Matthew Kelly was also accused. He consistently denied everything and was similarly found innocent with all charges dropped. Unsurprisingly, high level prosecutions remain elusive.

Questions regarding police investigation methods and serious corruption continue to haunt the successes. There have been many operations to clamp down on the increase in child pornography. What is immediately noticeable from the reviewing the past and on-going operations is the lack of convictions, though there are plenty listed as “suspects” and on-going “searches” and “leads.” 8951 people were suspected of committing a crime with an arrest rate that totalled 6,477 persons world-wide and climbing. The figures for suspects, arrests and convictions feature overwhelmingly under the initially much vaunted Operation Ore, which was the UK arm of a global push against internet-based child pornography and given much publicity during the late eighties and early nineties.

Is it because there is a cover-up of those involved in real abuse or is there actually much less abuse of this nature present? Perhaps it is a bit of both? A closer look at the Landslide case may offer some clues.

Armed with a search warrant and an $800,000 grant, the Landslide Inc. a credit clearance intermediary based in Fort Worth, Texas was raided by the FBI, USPIS officers, US customs, Microsoft, Dallas Police, and other contractors. It was closed in April 1999. Operation Avalanche was the result which oversaw investigations and arrests in the US of 100 individuals whose credit card details were found on the Landslide database. This was followed with international operations such as Snowball, Amethyst and Auxin and the aforementioned Operation Ore in the UK. As a result of the Landslide/Avalanche operations a list of over 7,000 credit card holders and their transactions were culled from the Landslide database and given to the UK police.

The Landslide investigations were initially focused around a website that was alleged to have had graphic thumbnails and banners advertising child pornography. Proprietor Thomas Reedy’s home was raided in September 1999 and his office in December of the same year. Assets and bank accounts were frozen while the servers which had been left to run during this time yielded further credit card details from subscribers which then produced a huge database of suspects.

Although Reedy and his wife were offered a 20 year sentence in return for cooperation in trapping webmasters he chose to mount a defence, claiming he was not responsible for the content on third party websites. This led to his indictment in May of 2000 and a life sentence for his troubles in August 2001. His conviction included 89 counts of conspiracy, possession and distribution of illegal images of minors while his wife Janice Reedy received 14 years due to her relatively minor role in the affair.

_64116585_reedys304gettyThomas and Janice Reedy

The severity of Thomas Reedy’s sentence has since been questioned by many more than his attorney: “the Reedys are victims … to lose 10 years of a person’s life in prison is a helluva lot for a crime that doesn’t involve death …” This is due to the fact that Reedy was not a webmaster nor had he created the sexual images. It was also true that the credit card verification for sites did not involve child pornography. Yet, according to Robert Adams, a US Postal Service inspector, who began investigating the couple in May, they had “helped three foreign Webmasters provide ‘hundreds of thousands of images’ as well as movies depicting children in violent sex acts …” which extended to children of only four years of age. [7] Adams made no bones about the fact after his investigations this was, in his opinion “a global operation” [8] involving webmasters from Indonesia to Russia, where he saw the Reedy’s business as actively providing the means for webmasters to share files and download photos.

The joint US/UK entrapment scheme called Operation Avalanche became embroiled in a breathless media fanfare and alleged help from the FBI to streamline the subsequent arrests that were made in August 2001, just as Reedy began his life sentence. From 35,000 US Landslide subscribers email invitations were sent to all with the offer to purchase child pornography by post. “Members of the Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Forces and US Postal Inspectors have conducted 144 searches in 37 states with 100 arrests to date for trafficking child pornography through the mail and via the Internet,” [9]

The huge scale of Operation Ore was primarily due to a list of 7,200 names supplied to British police forces by none other than the FBI, (entrapment specialists!) and ICAC, Task Forces. The angle given to the media was that this was a clear-cut case of paedophilia in society where rings were being rounded up and highly professional undercover operations were in action intended to spring the networks of child rapists.

According to respected investigative journalist Duncan Campbell and his research into Operation Ore cases, the evidence was “exaggerated” and “used unacceptably.” Actually, this is being a little kind. American police testimony was wholly discredited and forensic methods deemed questionable at best. Critical evidence provided by US investigators which initially formed the foundation of Ore itself, were proven to be false. Ministers were not informed of this salient fact and it was buried while convictions continued and costs skyrocketed.

Interpol received sworn statements submitted to UK courts in 2002 that Dallas detective Steven Nelson and US postal inspector Michael Mead had explained that all those who visited Landslide were always presented with a front page screen button which offered a “click Here (for) Child Porn” and thus all those who accessed Landslide and paid with their credit card were assumed to be paedophiles.  Campbell informs us, by the time: “British police and computer investigators had finally examined American files, they found that the ‘child porn’ button was not on the front page of Landslide at all, but was an advertisement for another site appearing elsewhere: thus the crucial “child porn” button was a myth. Landslide certainly gave access to thousands of adult sex sites. But accessing such material, which is now freely broadcast and sold in high street grocers’, is not a crime.” [10]

How could such a serious and high profile investigation miss something so terribly obvious?

More importantly, when it was evident to any adequate investigator that: “The real front page of Landslide was an innocuous image of a mountain, carrying no links to child porn. There was ‘no way’ a visitor to Landslide could link from there to child porn sites,” according to Sam Type, a British forensic computer consultant who was asked by the National Crime Squad (NCS) to rebuild the Landslide website. She dismissed the idea that Landslide had created a service devoted to child porn, describing its only difference as a “pay-per-view” service.”

So, what were the authorities playing at? Was it a case of systematic errors or systematic fraud?

Jim Bates, a computer expert with forensic knowledge served as a witness for the prosecution and defence in more than 100 child porn cases. He is convinced that: “… a massive fraud has been perpetrated at Landslide [where] an unknown number of subscriptions are fake …” [11]  US investigators believed that those who accessed Landslide – by the mere act of paying – were paedophiles. Worse still, from the thousands of pay-to-view access channels provided by Landslide’s two services, US investigators had copied the contents of 12 sites out of a possible 400 accessible through one of the Landslide services called Keyz. Although these sites did contain child pornography and around 25 percent or more, about 180 Keyz sites were either standard pornography or unknown. With the Landslide closure over three years before, evidence of incriminating images in many cases were absent, only address and card details remained:

Here, the American evidence that having paid to get into Landslide meant having paid to access child porn has become crucial. Many of the accused argue that their card details could have been stolen and used without their knowledge, or admit that they used Landslide, but for adult material.

The NCS detective who found the real, innocuous Landslide front page in the American police files acted quickly to make it available to police forces and prosecutors. But nobody seems to have paid attention to the contradiction this created in the Operation Ore evidence. Nor did they apparently notice that there were now two, utterly different “Landslide front pages” presented in Operation Ore prosecutions — one totally incriminating, the other (and accurate) page quite innocuous.  [12]

There were many police in the UK who expressed disquiet at the way Operation Ore was conducted. Some became so disillusioned that they resigned from their jobs. One of them was Merseyside police officer Peter Johnston, who described his lack of faith in a letter to The Sunday Times: “I began to doubt the validity of the evidence surrounding the circumstances of the initial investigation in America … I found it difficult to rationalise how offenders had been identified solely on a credit card number.” [13] All of which means that it is very likely that many cases will be overturned or sent to the Court of Appeal. This comes too late for the 33 men who committed suicide and the lives of other individuals and their families shattered.

One of many victims who had been under the Ore investigation since December 2004 was that of Commodore David White, 50, commander of British forces in Gibraltar. Despite a lack of evidence against him, he was instructed to give up his position in January of 2005 after news of the investigations began to spread. Twenty-four hours later he was found dead at the bottom of his pool after taking a dose of sleeping tablets washed down with whiskey. There was said to be insufficient evidence as to whether the Commodore’s death was accidental or suicide, though the latter appears probable. A statement from his brother, showed that his mental state had collapsed after his dismissal and that he was in a “catatonic state of shock.” [14]  The inquest into the circumstances surrounding his death have since confirmed that investigations: “… yielded no evidence that he downloaded child pornography, and a letter was written by ministry of defence police to naval command on January 5 this year indicating that there were ‘no substantive criminal offences’ to warrant pressing charges.” [15] 

The Scottish arm of the Operation was completed in August 2003 after investigating 350 people north of the Border, about 200 of who were in Strathclyde and 70 in Lothian and the Borders. After millions of pounds of expenditure no arrests were made due to a failure “to gather the necessary evidence” though “grave doubts” about suspects remained.[16]

Despite the disastrously flawed evidence from the US, it was the UK contingent of police, lawyers and a frothing media who transformed the possibility of a genuine investigation of child pornography into a verifiable witch-hunt by using emotive catch lines and the reliance of sensation over facts. The very nature of paedophile images already predisposes the media and juries to convict based on the instinct to make it disappear. Therefore, most defence solicitors suggested pleading guilty if any images were found on computers regardless of whether they were guilty or not. Reconciling this with the persistent evidence of high level paedophilia and other deviant activities is not easy.

Once again we have evidence that crimes continue undeterred and with Establishment protection while the public carries the can.

 


Notes
[1]  ‘Dozens convicted in child sex video trial’ by John Henley, The Guardian, May 11, 2000.
[2] Ibid.
[3] ‘The ambiguities in the campaign against paedophilia’ by Jean Michael-Dumay, Le Monde, March 25 2000.
[4] Ibid.
[5] op. cit. Vachss, (Case Magazine)
[6] ‘I’ve always been open about porn’ Friday April 11, 2003, by Alexis Petridis, The Guardian. “He claims that despite the fact that no charges had been brought against him, the police informed the Sun newspaper about his arrest. “The whole thing became this kind of publicity joke. Someone in the police force called The Sun directly, said we’ve arrested so and so, we haven’t charged him. The police shouldn’t be giving that information to newspapers.”
[7] ‘Couple in child porn trial planned to flee to Mexico, witness testifies Defense counters that pair has No criminal history, passports’ – dallasmorningnews.com/ By Debra Dennis Fort Worth Bureau of The Dallas Morning News, April 19, 2000.
[8] Ibid.
[9] ‘Attorney General Ashcroft Announces the Successful Conclusion of Operation Avalanche’ Press Release, US Depart. Of Justice August 8 2001, http://www.usdoj.gov.
[10] ‘A flaw in the child porn witch-hunt’ By Duncan Campbell, The Sunday Times, June 26, 2005.
[11] ‘Operation Ore Exposed’ by Jim Bates,  computerinvestigations.com
[12] ‘A flaw in the child porn witch-hunt’ By Duncan Campbell, The Sunday Times, June 26, 2005.
[13] Child porn suspects set to be cleared in evidence ‘shambles’ by David Leppard, The Sunday Times July 03, 2005.
[14] ‘Military chief killed himself over child porn allegations’ by Caroline Gammell, The Scotsman Fri 30 Sep 2005.
[15] ‘Dead officer absolved in porn probe’ By David Leppard, The Sunday Times, Sunday, 2 October, 2005.
[16] ‘Dismay as international paedophile probe fails’ by Marcello Mega, August 2003 The Scotsman.