A View from Riverside Drive, Commentary by Ed Hynes, April 2007
British Internet cop says he has no interest in ‘adult entertainment’
Jim Gamble, a prominent British policeman who heads two organizations in the business of protecting children from sexual predators online, has gone out of his way to suggest that children are not endangered by what he calls “consenting legal adult entertainment.” This came out in the aftermath of a controversial conference on child protection held in Belfast in November 2005.
Mr. Gamble, deputy director general of Britain’s National Crime Squad, is also Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre in England and chairman of the Virtual Global Task Force (VGT), an international organization of police agencies seeking to coordinate their efforts to protect children from online sexual predators.
The Belfast conference was sponsored by the VGT and the European Union.
The controversy centered on Mr. Gamble’s invitation to Joan Irvine to participate in the conference. She represents a group that purports to help the “online adult industry” (read, websites that peddle addictive hardcore pornography) “make a difference in the battle against child pornography.”
Dr. Esmond Birnie, an Ulster Unionist Party Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, representing South Belfast, objected to Ms. Irvine’s participation. Dr. Birnie is a leading opponent of hardcore pornography and the predation and trafficking that ensue from it.
In response, Mr. Gamble called Dr. Birnie “incorrect” and “potentially reckless.”
Dr. Birnie commented, “I am glad that Mr. Gamble’s letter to me at least concedes that there were pornographers at this conference. He tries to draw a tight distinction between the ‘adult’ industry and the exploitation of children. I fear, and suggest that experience bears this out, that that industry inevitably involves exploitation too and also acts to entice children into illegal activity.”
Mr. Gamble gave an interview to the porn-friendly news service, XBIZ News, in November 2005. In it, he asserted that the term “child abuse” should be used instead of “child pornography” because “Using ‘pornography’ to describe such images is confusing. . . and associates an industry that employs consenting adults with one that profits from ‘online child abuse activities.'” XBIZ News added: “Mr. Gamble said ‘the VGT has no interest in consenting legal adult entertainment.'”
If you think Mr. Gamble was saying there’s nothing wrong with pornography in which the performers are adults, you’re right. That, of course, is what the porn industry wants you to believe. It seems they would like to expunge the word “pornography” from the language. So “child pornography” becomes “child abuse,” even though it’s a given that child pornography is a specific kind of child abuse; and hardcore pornography that does not depict actual children becomes “adult entertainment” involving “consenting adults,” never mind the portrayals in it of rape, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, sex with “school girls,” excretory activities and so on.
Coming from the pornographers, this line of doublespeak is to be expected. But from a top cop in the business of protecting children from pornography and predators on the Internet it is worrisome, to say the least.
Most law enforcement experts are aware that children are groomed for abuse by sexual predators through the use of adult pornography.
Clinical psychologists are aware that pornography is addictive and that many sexual predators get that way through their escalating addiction to pornography of all kinds.
Mr. Gamble may know nothing of this, but he seems ready to dispute it.
When Mr. Gamble says VGT has no interest in “consenting legal adult entertainment” he seems not to know that the word “legal” is out of place in that context. Much of the material he refers to is hardcore obscenity. It is not legal in the United States and other countries to distribute such material on the Internet and elsewhere. Thus, most of what he says VGT has no interest in is not legal. Furthermore, pornography that is not obscene for adults, and thus legal for adults, may be obscene for minors, and thus not legal for minors.
U.S. Justice Department targets ‘adult entertainment’ and child porn, too
In testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in January 2006, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Laura H. Parsky described child pornography in terms Jim Gamble could almost endorse, but she also made clear that the Department is committed to prosecuting hardcore obscene adult pornography as well as child pornography, and discussed the dangerous effects of “adult entertainment” on the Internet.
In her prepared statement, she said, “The very term we commonly use to describe these awful images – child pornography – does not adequately convey the horrors these images depict. A more accurate term would be ‘images of child sexual abuse,’ because the production of these images involves the sexual abuse of a child.”
She reported, “Total federal prosecutions of child pornography cases rose from 352 cases in 1997 to 1,486 cases in 2004, a more than 422% increase. Federal prosecutions of enticement and sexual abuse cases more than doubled in this same time frame, jumping from 230 in 1997 to 518 in 2004. In Fiscal Year 2005, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices initiated 1,447 cases pursuant to child exploitation and child pornography statutes.”
With respect to adult pornography, she said, “there have been 47 obscenity convictions of persons or entities Department-wide since 2001, and we currently have obscenity indictments pending against 12 persons or entities.”
She described the effects of the migration of obscenity to the Internet and said, “perhaps the most disturbing, is the endangerment of children. This is especially true when spam is used to market obscene material.” She was speaking of material Jim Gamble said the VGT has no interest in.
ACLU exec demonstrates the danger of unrestricted Internet access
In December 1998, Charles Rust-Tierney appeared before the Loudon County, Virginia, Library Board to tell the Board that it should allow “maximum, unrestricted access to the valuable resources of the Internet.”
He was there representing the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU had just finished helping to persuade a federal court judge in Alexandria, Virginia, that the Loudon Library’s Internet filtering policy violated the First Amendment.
Mr. Rust-Tierney told the Library Board that “individuals will continue to behave responsibly and appropriately while in the library,” and noted pointedly, “other libraries have adopted less restrictive policies that allow adult and minor patrons to decide for themselves whether to access the Internet with or without a filter.”
Leave it to the children. Forget library officials. Forget the parents. Filtering should be “optional. . . on computers in the children’s section,” he said. Even the children, presumably, will “continue to behave responsibly…”
Come forward just over eight years, to February 2007, and we find Mr. Rust-Tierney in that same federal court house in Alexandria, this time as a defendant charged with possession of videos that show the violent rape of crying, rope-bound prepubescent girls.
Mr. Rust-Tierney was arrested February 24 after an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, as well as Arlington County police, as part of the Northern Virginia and District of Columbia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. According to the criminal complaint, Mr. Rust-Tierney has subscribed to multiple child pornography websites over a period of years.
ACLU doesn’t like filters in libraries but prefers them to the Child Online Protection Act
In March, 2007, just after ACLU executive Charles Rust-Tierney was arrested on child pornography possession charges, and nine years after he opposed Internet filtering on public-access computers in Loudon County, Virginia, the ACLU applauded a federal court judge’s decision to strike down the Child Online Protection Act largely on the grounds that filters are a better way to protect children from Internet pornography than the methods outlined in the Act.
Cops uncover international child porn ring and are investigating thousands of ‘customers’
In Vienna, Austrian authorities said they have broken an international child pornography ring involving more than 2,360 suspects from 77 countries, including about 600 being investigated by the FBI in the United States, Fox News reported February 7. Austrian officials were quoted as saying that confiscated videotapes showed screaming girls being raped.
These thousands of suspects didn’t all acquire a taste for such horrific material without first becoming addicted to adult obscenity on the Internet and the milder forms of pornographic material so readily available even on drug store magazine racks.
Pornographers’ can’t hide their role in global sex trade
The pornographers of California’s San Fernando Valley would like us all to think of them just as bright people who are in the “adult entertainment business” to make a buck.
They live and work in the affluence of suburban Los Angeles, which makes it possible – perhaps even easy, especially for them — to ignore their connection with the brothels and back alleys of the world, the places where women and children who have been abducted, duped and trafficked by criminal gangs are forced to work as prostitutes.
But the fact is that the porn makers in sunny California produce and distribute an addictive product that drives addicts to ever-stronger, viler and more dangerous material – just as marijuana leads to crack cocaine. The porn/sex addicts drive the demand for paid sex with women and children.
When a child in Cambodia services a sex tourist from Europe or North America, a so-called “adult entertainment” company doesn’t take a piece of the action, and would rather not even know about it. The Los Angeles-based sex business get paid up front, when that sex tourist is staring into his computer screen back home, feeding his ever-more-compulsive addiction to hardcore adult and child pornography.
That makes the porn merchants part of the global sex-for-pay business. So, too, the hotels that offer pornographic films on pay-per-view television in their guest rooms, and the cable companies that carry “adult product.”
The porn merchants want everyone to believe that what people do in the privacy of their homes and hotel rooms is their business. And they want everyone to believe that there is no connection between their porn and child porn and other forms of sexual assault. Their porn involves “consenting adults,” they say, as though that makes it okay.
But ask that trafficked kid in Cambodia what she thinks about it.
CNN ran a story about such a child on January 27, filed by reporter Dan Rivers from Phnom Penh. The headline was, “Girl, 6, embodies Cambodia’s sex industry.” The story began, “At an age when most children might be preparing for their first day of school, Srey, 6, already has undergone trauma that is almost unspeakable. She was sold to a brothel by her parents when she was 5. . . . Srey endured months of abuse at the hands of pimps and sex tourists. . . . Passed from man to man, often drugged to make her compliant, Srey was a commodity at the heart of a massive, multimillion-dollar sex industry in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.” The little girl is HIV-positive and was not expected to live long.
You can find this article at: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/01/23/sex.workers/index.html
Psychological Association ties sex-saturated culture to sexual violence
For anyone who’s been paying attention, none of this would be news except for the fact that it comes from the American Psychological Association.
The APA reported in February that it has found that girls and women are “sexualized” by the “sex-saturated culture” in which they grow up. This, the Association said, is harmful to the self-image and healthy development of girls.
The Association report also said:
The sexualization of girls may not only reflect sexist attitudes, a societal tolerance of sexual violence, and the exploitation of girls and women, but may also contribute to these phenomena. (Emphasis added.)
Tieing sexual violence and the exploitation of women and girls to pop culture in this way is especially important coming from the APA.
Sexualization occurs, the APA report said, when a person’s value comes only from her or his sexual appeal or behavior, to the APA.
Sexualization occurs, the APA report said, when a person’s value comes only from her or his sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics; when a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness with being sexy; when a person is sexually objectified, e.g., made into a thing for another’s sexual use, or when sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person.
The APA study uncovered “evidence that sexualization contributes to impaired cognitive performance in college-aged women, and related research suggests that viewing material that is sexually objectifying can contribute to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, low self-esteem, depressive affect, and even physical health problems in high-school-aged girls and in young women.”
You can find the APA’s full report online here: http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/sexualizationrep.pdf