(Once again the author of this lengthy essay goes by the name of Dissident and gave me permission to re-post it here. I’m grateful to him for allowing me to re-post it and for taking the time to write it in the first place. When it comes to child porn, most mass media outlets resemble puppets controlled by masters in politics, law enforcement, and NCMEC. Honest debate, access to accurate information, and policies based on facts instead of fantasy are surely needed.)

Whenever any government, or any church, or anyone else for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects: “This book you may not read, this film you may not watch, this image you may not see, this knowledge you may not have,” then the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.

– Robert A. Heinlein, “If This Goes On…”

Previously, I composed an essay discussing the question of legality about the very emotionally-charged subject of CP [what our culture and penal system commonly calls ‘child pornography’] and its relevance to the youth liberation movement. But there are many broader implications regarding why CP should be legal outside of the various points I made in that previous essay. Before I get into them, however, I would like to say a few things about CP to make my stance, as well as that of the broader pro-choice segment of the MAA [Minor Attracted Adult] community, crystal clear to all who read this.

Most of us (including myself) do not support an “absolutely anything goes” attitude regarding the production of CP, especially when it comes to prepubescent children rather than adolescents. I fully believe that prepubescents should never appear in what we call “hardcore” pornography that would include large amounts of sexual activity–either with peers or adults–that would likely prove physically injurious to them–such as full penetrative intercourse–and which they would not likely seek out in real life. Accordingly, there is a big difference between “child pornography” and what may best be labeled child erotica. I would see no problem with prepubescents who possess an exhibitionist streak in them (and our society is well aware that such children do exist, despite our strong attempts to deny it) to appear in mildly erotic films where they engage in what we often call ‘sex play’ with people of various ages–depending upon what the child in question would agree to as per their individual tastes–which prepubescents of a slightly older age (say, six years old and up) at least semi-regularly do with peers and sometimes with adults whom they trust and have bonded with in a certain way.

I also have no problem with prepubescents appearing nude in films, including mainstream films, as long as they have no objections, since–as I explained in my aforementioned previous essay–I do not think it’s logical or healthy for our culture to promulgate the idea that there is something inherently ugly or “obscene” about the nude youthful form, or even about normal youth sexual activity. Prepubescents have appeared nude and even sometimes engaging in lightly erotic scenes (i.e., those involving kissing and notable sensuality) in many foreign films over the past few decades, and people from those cultures do not have the conception that there is something inherently “wrong” with this–though this positive attitude about youth sexuality has been diminishing in these foreign Western nations due to constant aggressive American and British influence over the past two decades. In fact, it’s largely American and British culture who has this irrational fear and loathing of anything remotely to do with youthful nudity and sexual activity despite their reality throughout human history, and it’s the governments of these two nations who put so much pressure on artists of all stripes in nations both within and outside of the West to stifle all such attempts. As such, foreign films depicting a “coming of age” theme have become noticeably less “bold” (read: realistic) in their portrayal of these normal aspects of the lives of youths over the past decade, the first of the 21st century. I’m sure if the current American mindset had its way, all “coming of age” films would be produced for suitability to air on the Disney Channel.

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(The author of this lengthy essay goes by the name of Dissident and gave me permission to re-post it here.)

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated. But those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.

– C.S. Lewis

I extend many thanks to the crew of GirlChat [GC] for their invaluable editorial assist on the earliest draft of this essay, and I have incorporated several suggestions and anecdotes from them. Particular thanks goes to my fellow GC posters Baldur, qtns2di4, Summerdays, CatcherintheRye, Sancho Panza, and Little Girl Lover.

Recently I composed an essay designed to answer a question I often hear from individuals as to why the age of consent [AoC] laws are of any importance to the youth liberation movement, and if perhaps the pro-choice faction of the MAA [Minor Attracted Adult] community is simply being “selfish” for arguing that it is. Today, I move on to what may be considered the second part of that essay, which brings the same question to the fore regarding the many types of imagery and writing that may be classified as CP [child pornography] by the government of any given country. In other words, in this essay I will give a response to the many variations of the following question and accompanying comment that I often hear: “What does CP have to do with youth liberation? I don’t think any youth under the age of 18 would ever have the slightest interest in appearing in erotic photography or videos, so I think it’s foolish, selfish, and counter-productive for the pro-choice faction of the MAA community to support its legalization even in a future youth liberated society.” That is quite a bold question and follow-up statement, but does it actually hold up to close scrutiny and logical analysis?

To begin with, one who has the above contention would have to answer the question as to why so many young people over the age of 18 so obviously have a desire to appear in films and photoshoots of an erotic nature, yet be simultaneously certain that absolutely no young person under the age of 18–even just a few years younger–would have a similar desire to do so. Does it make logical sense for youth liberationists to argue that those we today designate ‘underagers’–particularly those in adolescence–have many of the same capabilities or desires as older people with the sole exception of the desire to publicly express their sexuality?

First of all, what does the heavy proliferation of the sexting phenomenon amongst underagers who own cell phones say about this? Please note the online news reports here, here, and here, as just a few examples that one can find with a simple Google search. Although one can and will argue that those pics are designed entirely for the eyes of significant others and not for public consumption, one has to consider a few things: 1) it’s illegal for underagers to post nude or overly provocative pics of themselves on public venues, and 2) many do so anyway on their socnet pages on MySpace and Facebook, and not all who do this keep those pages–and therefore access to their photo sections–private.

Then one has to consider the proliferation over the past two decades of the online youth modeling sites, many of which remain legal despite strong attempts by the American government to criminalize the entire industry. These modeling sites often feature girls (and sometimes boys) in highly revealing clothing and sometimes even arguably provocative poses. When one of the biggest and most well known companies producing material for youth models, Webe Web, was eradicated from existence after its three owners were brought up on CP charges (some say spuriously), the hope of the government that the entire industry based in the U.S. would be destroyed along with Webe Web was ultimately quashed. This is because several of the young models previously hosted by Webe Web subsequently went off on their own following Webe’s demise and continued working in the industry, many of them under new websites run by their parents. When the legal European youth modeling company known as the Gegg Agency fell for similar reasons, several of the girl models who were hosted by that site have likewise reappeared on other sites, also often under the auspices of their parents, who have interestingly refused to cooperate with LEAs [law enforcement agencies] in many cases; very few of these parents actually made a fuzz in the media about alleged “abuse” going on at the Gegg Agency, thus suggesting that the closing of the agency was more the result of pressure coming from the U.S. and Britain than anything more substantial. Pressure from the U.S. with likely help from Britain was known to have a large effect on the closure and indictment of youth modeling agencies situated in the Ukraine, who produced images sometimes including nudity that were not legal in the U.S. and certain other jurisdictions, but as my fellow activist qtns2di4 said, “it’s not clear that they broke local laws.” As he also noted, “As with Webe and C&G, girls and parents reappeared [on other youth modeling sites] and did not collaborate with police.” Clearly, the government and parents are often at odds when it comes to the subject of youth modeling and what does or does not constitute “appropriate” images, including the matter of simple nudity.

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? -Juvenal (Literally: “Who will guard the guards themselves?” modern usage: “Who watches the watchmen?”)

Neil M. Cohen‘s connection with child pornography first broke in July 2008. Cohen was a Deputy Assembly Speaker in the New Jersey statehouse. NJ.com reported on his case and said that

Among the more than 100 laws Cohen has sponsored is one that created a 24-hour hotline for members of the public to report computer crimes, including child pornography.

Cohen’s case has made its way through the legal system and the Associated Press reports on this. Two things stand out.

Neil Cohen, 59, acknowledged viewing and printing images meant for sexual gratification from a computer in his former legislative office.

The text “meant for sexual gratification” is interesting. It should be irrelevant whether Cohen was aroused or repulsed by the images. If we take into consideration how a defendant felt about an image in determining whether that image is or is not child pornography, then we are really trying him for his feelings and not for his actions. Also it’s interesting how neither this article or any others I’ve see about Cohen allude to how the images he had were the worst imaginable kind or had infants being raped. Is it Cohen’s high profile position that caused the police to withhold such statements, or were such statements not representative of the images Cohen viewed? Could it be that Cohen’s images and interests were in little more than teenage girls shaking their boobs?

The Associated Press article also includes this

“Mr. Cohen, through his actions in viewing and distributing child pornography, linked himself to an abhorrent industry that preys on children,” Attorney General Paula Dow said in a statement. “Every single person who willingly enters the criminal network of suppliers and users of child pornography becomes part of the tragic exploitation and abuse of the innocent victims.”

I wish Dow would clarify how “an abhorrent industry that preys on children” and “criminal network of suppliers and users of child pornography” and “innocent victims” all relate to the teenage girls who are threatened with child pornography prosecution for “sexting” racy pictures of themselves to their boyfriends?

Dow’s statement is suspicious, especially her use of the terms “industry” and “criminal network”. I’ve just finished Philip Jenkin’s Beyond Tolerance, and already a relevant passage comes to mind.

The non-commercial nature of the {child porn} trade deserves emphasis, because so many writers on the topic still make highly inaccurate remarks about the supposedly profitable nature of the trade and its organized-crime ties: this image is reinforced by the misleading word industry for the child porn world. 1

Jenkins knew this back in 2001, and in the last three years I’ve found nothing to contradict his earlier findings. Dow should know this too, so her use of this inflammatory language smacks of a deliberate lie and an intentional distortion of the reality of the child porn world.

1 Philip Jenkins, Beyond Tolerance, (New York: New York University Press, 2001), 91

This is the first post of a new project I’m starting that I call ‘Their Side of the Story’. The news is filled with tales of investigation, arrest, conviction, and sentencing of those suspected of accessing child porn. The stories often quote a police investigator, sometimes a coworker, sometimes a family member. When these stories are posted on the website of a media outlet that allows reader comments, the comments are almost uniformly hostile even when the case is at the stage of the initial arrest or accusation, with few daring to even suggest that the accused could possibly be innocent. The crimen exceptum reigns.

Almost never does the accused get to say anything. But now a few of them are going to get a chance to tell their side of the story. In a free society (and it’s an open question if the United States can any longer be considered a free society) all should be free to express their views and to answer their accusers. I’m proud to be helping these people do this.

The names or initials they use are probably pseudonyms. I don’t ask them for their real identity. My only contact with them is through anonymous e-mail.

So, without further ado:

A child porn offender, this is my story
By LGL

Hi, I’m a convicted child porn offender, this is my story. For about 5 years I indulged in CP. I surfed the web many countless hours looking for the free stuff. At the turn of the century there was a lot of it available for free. I also purchased memberships to the pay sites because this is where the good pictures were. I probably joined at least 50 of these sites in that period.

The sites I was purchasing memberships were called Lolita or Loli sites. The free stuff I downloaded was classified as erotica. These sites generally had girls posing with cloths on or nude. Not a single site I joined had sex play or simulated sex. They were similar to Playboy or Penthouse. Each girl would do a series of photos generally showing 20 to 50 pictures in varies stages of dress and undress. The quality of the sites varied greatly. From blurry barely distinguishable to HD quality. The girls appears to be happy, healthy, and they looked like they were enjoying themselves. None of the content was the worst ever you hear the LEO’s and D.A’s talk about. Other then a few nasty true CP I saw while downloading the free pictures I seldom ever saw the horrible pictures that are talked about. The billion dollar CP industry is nothing but lies. I spent 5 years looking through many CP sites and there’s no possible way it would add up to a billion dollars. Sites cost anywhere from $29.95 to $59.95 to join. A few cost $99.99. Do the math and see how many memberships it would take to add to a billion..

The content was from simple nudity you would find in nudist magazines to very erotic. What ultimately lead to my arrest and conviction was the lascivious exhibition of the genitals. In plan English. Spread eagle shots. An interesting footnote on this during the sentencing faze of my ordeal my lawyer showed me the pictures that the D.A. was using against me and it was from a magazine from the 70’s which was legally produced at the time. The picture was a girl about 8 years old doing a spread eagle pose. At the time this was produced she was a model who was payed very well to pose for pictures like this.

The way I was caught was my credit card was traced. I bought a few memberships which were apart of Operation Falcon. These sites were nothing more the nude pictures of girls between 8 yrs old to about 15.
The pictures were very similar to the L.S. model agency which were popular at the time. The LS studios were a part of the Ukrainian CP raids in 2004.

On the day I had the “visit” I was sleeping, early in the morning I heard a very loud banging on my door. The cop who was knocking banged so hard he cracked my door. To this day loud knocking freaks me out. Even people shutting their car doors outside makes me edgy.

The whole ordeal felt like a home invasion, the only difference is I had no legal recourse. The cops looked through all my stuff with very little respect. They took my computer, and any pictures I had of girls. They took about 10 Kirsten Dunst autograph pictures which to this day I never got back.

There were 3 cops, Two of them played the bad cop good cop game. The other just did her job. She didn’t say hardly a thing. After they left I had to quickly get a Lawyer, I lucked out and got one of the best ones in town, but he came with a fairly high cost. It cost about $15,000 total for him to do his job. Plus another $1000 for a psychologist to evaluate me. Without the shrinks opinion the Lawyer would have had very little to defend me with to recommend a minimum sentence..

After dealing with the Lawyer the next 6 months or so were some of the hardest moments of my life. The waiting to see what happens was very stressful. At first I slept about 13 hours a say. I had no ambition to do anything, sleeping was my only comfort.

Then the big day finally came, my Lawyer did a fairly good job and I got sentenced to 20 days of work release and 3 years probation. By today’s standards I basically got nothing.

After the sentencing a new Hell began. The first slap in the face was the massive amount of restrictions my Probation officer gave me. I had about 60 rules to follow. Other then the usual can’t drink alcohol rules I could not have a Playstation or a cellphone. There were a number of them relating to Jonbenet Ramsey. I could not have cable television. I could not have a VCR or DVD player. The P.O. basically took any form of entertainment from me. Which I had to endure for 3 years. I did follow the rules imposed on me and I was one of the few who wasn’t put on a P.O. hold. (thrown in jail while the DOJ investigates you) My P.O. told me this.

My stay in jail while short was miserable. Nobody messed with me and very few people even asked what I did, the ones who asked I told them I was there for drunk driving. My fellow inmates were ok in general and the staff was professional. The guards could be assholes at times but in most cases was because most of the inmates were too lazy to keep the place clean. The food was mostly bad. There were a few meals which were ok but most were just edible. Sleeping wasn’t very easy. We all were in a big dorm room with bunk beds. We slept on a solid steel frame with a hard mattress. We could not have pillows. It was uncomfortable and loud. People snoring made it tough to sleep. When you are used to being alone being in a dorm room with a lot of guys is not a good environment for rest.

The SOT (sex offender therapy) group I had to go to were at times bearable and other times very difficult to deal with. The shrink was the type of guy who loved to intimidate people. The bad thing is the offender was put in a situation were all you could do is take it like a beaten dog and go in the corner. If you argued or tried common sense logic you were kicked out of the group and you could go to prison to serve your whole sentence. With that hanging over our heads we all went along with the program. There was no choice.

My family was supportive, they do not believe the type of pictures I looked at should be illegal and have such grave consequences. But they are very hard to talk with about the subject. My dad always tried to change the subject matter. My parents are very ashamed of anything dealing with sex. While they don’t believe I should have been punished for what I did they are not advocates of child/adult sexual relations. They do not believe in them and told me so. My brother who lives in another state from me never talks about it. He gave some advice to my parents early on about the situation but that was it.

As for my friends, one of them thinks it’s bogus I got in trouble. He thinks people are too sex phobic. He does not believe people should get in trouble for looking at pictures. He said I should have taken my case to trial. But when you are looking at up to 18 years in prison a plea bargain of a short jail sentence with work release and probation didn’t seem to bad. The people who I worked with were friends of mine at one time, but because of this they are no longer. One of the guys who works there told me one guy said he would kill me if I went anywhere near his daughter. While I would physically destroy him he’s loony enough to use a gun on me. The other people who are apart of this so called group don’t say much to me. I’m basically an outsider at work. The only solace I get is I’ve been promoted so I tell them what to do.

Right now I’m still paranoid of loud knocks and people closing their car doors. I really have only 1 friend left. But I don’t worry about it to much. I work out and keep myself busy.

Recently another case appeared highlighting the vast chasm between what government, law, and their media puppets would like us to believe:

Child pornography is now seen as ‘the visual record of the sexual abuse of a child, either by adults, other children or which involves bestiality’. (Source)

and the reality:

Rebert said in Dull’s case, “What made them offensive was their graphic nature. A little girl with her bare butt showing, kind of looking over her shoulder.

“It’s a difficult distinction to make. What’s a cute butt and what’s pornographic? (Source)

Rebert is the York County, PA, district attorney. I’m not a district attorney, but I know the difference between a cute butt and pornography. Someone who can’t make that distinction has no business overseeing child pornography charges against a 56 year old grandmother.

The best piece I’ve found on this case is at Reason.

What makes this case extra interesting is the treatment given the grandmother when she was arrested for a picture of “a little girl with her bare butt showing, kind of looking over her shoulder”.

Dull maintains she was handcuffed “tightly in a rough, vigorous and aggressive manner” and slammed into a parked car with enough force that her head bounced off the vehicle, resulting in injuries to her back. (Source)

Why is it that the police felt it was OK to treat a 56 year old grandmother this way? Most likely it was the idea of crimen exceptum.

The clear relationship between the elements that make up the police state, including the inevitable ‘legislative creep’ that makes it possible can be seen from the above. A key sub-element in the doctrines and dogmas is the crimen exceptum, the designated crime for which normal law and the processes of justice are suspended – heresy, witchcraft, being a Jew in Nazi Germany, child sex abuse, child porn, and so on. Note how child porn has been used to transform the Internet into a tool of repression and fear and a powerful device for the police and prosecution state. (Source)

I’ve started a new category I call The Reality of Child Porn inspired by three blog posts I found on another WordPress blog. The author of this blog made three detailed posts in 2007 and 2008. There’s no use in my summarizing them here. It’s better for you to read them for yourself. The author does great work and I wish he’d continue. Lord knows there’s dozen of more examples of the government and law enforcement lying, abusing their power, and using child porn as an excuse to curtail civil liberties. Links to the individual posts are below with their full titles.

Gonzales, Mueller, McDade and Eichenwald: Did They Violate 18 USC 2252A?

Alleged Child Porn Victims Identified—As Adults. Prosecutor Ignores Evidence, Insists They Are Pre-Teens, And Proceeds With Prosecution.

Defendant Charged With Thought Crime After Alleged Child Porn Revealed To Be Adult Porn

I tip my hat to the author of these posts.

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. suggests in a recent column that “maybe we should legalize drugs.” I suggest maybe we should legalize child pornography.

Then there’s the collateral damage. ”When somebody gets arrested,” says Cole, ”it’s not only that person whose life is crippled. It drags down their whole family.” This, because the conviction makes it nearly impossible to get a job, go to college, even rent an apartment.

With child porn, the collateral damage also affects whole families. Increasingly, the child porn witch hunt is ensnaring the very people the anti-child porn laws are supposedly meant to protect.

If the girls are charged and convicted of child pornography violations, the plaintiffs contend, they would have a felony record and could be subjected to state Megan’s Law provisions, which would require them to register as convicted sex offenders.

What warrants such punishment? The rape of a child? No. The sexual abuse of an infant? No. How about:

The first image shows two teenage girls lying side by side in their bras. One of them is talking on a phone, while the other makes a peace sign.

In another picture, a third girl is seen just as she emerged from a shower, wrapped by a towel but with her breasts exposed.

There’s more on this case at a Wall Street journal blog post. That is what the child porn witch hunt has come to. I’m sure some hard core child porn does exist, but over-zealous police and prosecutors and lawmakers are no longer content to go after those responsible for the real abuse of children. Now children themselves are the targets.

Pitts writes more:

And for what? This ”War” has been an exercise in futility. In 1970, says Cole, about 2 percent of the population over the age of 12 had at some point or another used an illegal drug. As of 2003, he says, that number stood at 46, an increase of 2,300 percent — yet we’ve spent over a trillion dollars and imprisoned more people per capita than any country in the world in order to reduce drug use?

The laughable “war” on child porn follows the same trajectory. More police, more resources, more prosecutions, more time in prison, more sacrifices of our civil liberties, and what do we get for our efforts? A problem that is “exploding”.

How many hundreds of billions of dollars will we spend, how many hundreds of thousands of men will we imprison for decades before we realize the uncanny similarities between the “war” on drugs and the “war” on child porn? How long before we realize that when there is a demand, and when there are people (suppliers) able and willing to meet that demand, the demand will be met?