(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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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?

Child porn is at the heart of our new sexual absolutism. Its laws have criminalized both artistic representation and objective intellectual examination and speculation. -The website http://www.inquisition21.com/

This is the first of a new category of posts I’m calling ‘Other Victims’. I’ll be highlighting the forgotten victims of the child porn inquisition. For background a full reading of The Crimen Exceptum will be helpful. It begins

The crimen exceptum is central to every inquisition, whether it be heresy, witchcraft, being a Jew, a Red under the bed or today one accused of child sex abuse or accessing child pornography. The crimen exceptum requires the suspension of due process and all real processes of justice. You do not need to be tried and convicted, merely accused.

Lt. Todd Chism, a Spokane, Washington firefighter, is one soon to be forgotten victim. Lt. Chism “was arrested and accused by the Washington State Patrol of possessing child pornography, then was released after investigators determined he was innocent”. The full text, as long is it remains available is here. The evidence used to justify the arrest was flimsy at best. The problem is that these days being arrested and accused of child porn possession or downloading is tantamount to being found guilty. Why? Well consider that case of Michael D. Gates of Coopersburg, PA. As of today, October 2, 2008, Gates has been arrested and charged, but not tried or convicted or plead guilty to child porn possession. Some of the comments to the news story I linked include

“Shoot him” – Dave1206

“Hang him by his testicles.” – OMG

“Tattoo his forehead ‘pervert’. Then castrate him!” – Parent of Two

This is what people are saying about a man who has not yet been convicted of anything. Gates has not yet had his day in court. Gates has not yet been tried by a jury of his peers. Gates should be presumed innocent still since he’s not yet been found guilty of anything. Yet we get responses like those above. I think Gates probably is guilty as charged, and will either plead guilty or will be found guilty at trial, but he deserves his day in court. Now consider that the comments being made about Gates are probably the same kind of comments that were made about Lt. Chism, a completely innocent man, when news of his arrest first broke.

Fortunately for Lt. Chism

Marcus Lawson, a forensic expert and former federal agent hired by Chism’s lawyer and now the president of Global CompuSearch, concluded that the evidence used to arrest Chism and search his home was “insufficient for a search warrant, let alone an arrest warrant.

……………..
The case originated in the patrol’s missing and exploited children Unit with a tip that included a Yahoo e-mail account associated with downloading hundreds of digital images of child pornography.

Investigators found Todd and Nicole Chism’s credit card had been used in one of the internet protocol addresses associated with the Yahoo account, “but they couldn’t definitively link the porn to the Chisms’ computer or home address or anywhere,” DeVere said.

Detectives found fraudulent activity had been reported on three of the four credit card numbers associated with the Chisms’ Bank of America account but not the fourth, which was the one used to buy the porn, DeVere said.

This reeks of the travesty know as Operation Ore in the UK, where hundreds, perhaps thousands of identity theft victims may have been falsely accused of downloading child porn. The police agency, the Washington State Patrol, responsible for this miscarriage of justice against Lt. Chism, as you might expect, feels they’ve done nothing wrong. They state

“When you have this type of crime, where time is of the essence for evidence destruction, we have to do everything we can for the safety of children and people,” DeVere said. “We are going to investigate that crime very vigorously to make sure that children are not exploited.”

So DeVere, can you enlighten us about how looking at pictures, even if Lt. Chism had been doing that, which he wasn’t, would have been exploiting children? Evidence destruction? They didn’t have any evidence. The Washington State Patrol went fishing for evidence armed not with a fishing pole but with an arrest warrant.