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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

[Forcing people to provide private] data…is dangerous, because it’s not a matter of if it will be breached; it’s a matter of when.  –  Caden Rosenbaum

Schadenfreude 

Yet another opportunistic fraud has been unmasked:

…the…[“]sex trafficking[” opportun]ist known as Eliza Bleu has broken into some of the top tiers of right-wing media in just a few years, growing her audience through…[claims that she is] “a survivor of human trafficking”…But now Bleu[‘s lies have been exposed by]…embarrassing images from her past…and…contradict[ions in her backstory from different] videos and interviews—and her frequent use of different names online…Now two former friends of Bleu [have come forward with more details which reveal]…that, at best, Bleu is exaggerating her experiences for attention…Carly Wenzel, a one-time pal…who has known her for two decades…added she believes Bleu is “completely lying”…

Lying Down With Dogs (#335)

What other country uses the term “prostitution” to criminalize consensual behavior the regime dislikes?

An Iranian court has handed jail sentences of more than 10 years each to a young couple who danced in front of one of Tehran’s main landmarks in a video seen as a symbol of defiance against the regime…Astiyazh Haghighi and her fiance, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, both in their early 20s, were arrested in early November…Haghighi was not wearing a headscarf…women are also not allowed to dance in public, let alone with a man…The couple, who already had a following in Tehran as popular Instagram bloggers, were convicted of “encouraging corruption and public prostitution” as well as “gathering with the intention of disrupting national security”…they [were]…deprived of lawyers during the [kangaroo] court…and attempts to secure their release on bail [were] rejected…

Negative Secondary Effects

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

A bill introduced in West Virginia…aims to ban adult entertainment businesses from the state…The language of the bill is both borderline graphic and incredibly vague: it defines the body parts that stores are prohibited from showing in books, live performances, and films with meticulous specificity…but specific details on which businesses will actually be affected if this bill were to pass into law are left mostly undefined…Under th[e bill’s current language], a bookstore that sells [sex education books or videos]…would be considered an adult business…the terms of this bill could effectively make gay bars and nude modeling at art schools illegal…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1021)

This would be terrible even if the cops weren’t lying:

The…NYPD…is in the process of redesigning its fleet of p[igmobi]les, which will now have 360-degree cameras installed in them for constant [surveillance] of the [citizen]s…Po[rk] Commissioner Keechant Sewell…[lied] that…there are no plans to e[quip] the [cameras with] facial recognition technology…[but she bragged about]…an “augmented reality” app…will allow [cops] to point their smartphones at a location, such as a…[person’s home], and learn about things like wanted suspects or previous 911 calls connected to the address…

Creepy Coppers

The people the government empowers to police your sexuality:

A [Virginia cop named]…David Stone…is currently being held without bond a[fter being]…arrested on Jan. 25…[on] 50 child pornography charges…

Stupor Bowl (#1277)

It’s unsurprising that Arizona is still promoting this nearly-mummified fantasy with police violence against women:

Despite more than a decade of research, reports, editorials, magazine articles and even police accounts debunking the odious myth that the Super Bowl is a magnet for sex trafficking, this zombie lie remains catnip to local politicians, police and media ahead of Super Bowl LVII…But occasionally a little truth sneaks through the miasma of misinformation, as is the case with…Fox 10’s report bolster[ing] the long-disproven…hoax…it inadvertently reveals [that]…Phoenix Police…ha[ve] been regularly arresting unknown numbers of adults [under the pretext that they might be “]victims of sex trafficking[” and] allowing [prohibitionist] groups to proselytize them while in custody…If that sounds familiar, it should, because about 10 years ago, the PPD was involved in a similar, highly-controversial program with ASU’s School of Social Work called Project ROSE

The Mob Rules (#1307)

Tyrannical politicians are now competing to see which state can make adolescence most closely resemble a prison sentence:

A pair of bills in Utah would impose draconian requirements on social media platforms [under the pretext] of protecting children….social media companies would be required to verify the ages of all users from Utah, get parental consent before allowing someone under age 18 to open or maintain an account, provide parents or guardians of minors with “access to the content and interactions” of accounts maintained by their children, and…minors would be prohibited from using social media between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m…The bill would also authorize a[nyone, including bureaucrats]…to sue social media companies for [supposed] violations…

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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We did prohibition, it didn’t work.  –  George Koob

Pyrrhic Victory (#1189)

“Criminality” is a status defined entirely by the State:

…the head of [the] Iranian…morality [police] said in a September interview that [facial recognition] technology would be used “to identify inappropriate and unusual movements,” including “failure to observe hijab laws”…[activists] monitoring the ongoing [protests] have noticed that some people…are confronted by police days after an alleged incident—including women cited for not wearing a hijab…the pattern indicates face recognition is already in use…women…[are also] receiving citations in the mail for hijab law violations despite not having [been physically accosted by a cop]…Women deemed violators of the law can lose access to banks, public transportation, and other essential…services.  Repeat offenders can spend years in jail or in [“re-education” camps]…

Virtual Imperialism (#1202)

Beijing’s campaign to silence Chinese people outside China is becoming more aggressive:

…a Chinese outpost [in New York] conducting police operations without jurisdiction or diplomatic approval — one of more than 100 such outfits around the world…[was searched by] F.B.I. counterintelligence agents…last fall…Irish, Canadian and Dutch officials have called for China to shut down police operations in their countries…[but] the F.B.I. raid is the first known example of the authorities seizing materials from one of the outposts…The Chinese…[claim] the outposts…are staffed by volunteers who help Chinese nationals perform [benign] tasks like renewing their driver’s licenses back home.  But Chinese state news media reports…cite police and local Chinese officials by name describing the operations…[as “]overseas police service centers[” which engage in]…“collecting intelligence” and solving crimes abroad without collaborating with local officials…Some of those online articles have been deleted recently as Western officials and human rights groups have called attention to the police offices…[which are] part of Beijing’s larger drive to keep tabs on Chinese nationals abroad, including dissidents…

A Moral Cancer (#1260)

Crypto-moralists want people to believe they could live forever by simply eliminating every single pleasurable activity from their lives:

After decades of confusing and…contradictory [claims by crypto-moralists]…the[y’re now claiming to be really really right this time when they claim]…even small amounts of alcohol can have health consequences…When experts talk about the dire health consequences linked to excessive alcohol use, people often assume that it…[means excessive] alcohol use…But th[at’s not good enough for puritans, who want the gullible to be afraid of even]…moderate consumption…the [ever-changing] U.S. Dietary Guidelines…[now] recommend…[no] more than two drinks a day for men and…one drink a day for women…[but] the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…[which is well known for the consistency of its claims and “]recommend[ations” says…if you abstain [most of the time]…and have two or three drinks…on[ce in a while it still]…count[s] as excessive consumption [and God will smite you with cancer]…

Property of the State (#1293)

Universal criminality provides many avenues for State violence:

Alabama’s attorney general [Steve Marshall] said he could prosecute women who take abortion pills, despite language in the state’s new abortion ban that ensures it won’t be used against people who receive abortions…That state’s law against “chemical endangerment” of a child was originally passed to punish people who exposed children to meth labs.  But it’s been used to prosecute numerous pregnant women accused of taking drugs, including marijuana alone…Since abortion pills are now an illegal drug in Alabama…Marshall’s statement doesn’t seem like an empty threat at all…

Opting Out (#1295) 

The UK’s decade-long campaign to censor the internet has taken a mindlessly-carceral turn:

Nearly 40 [politicians are demanding]…the [long-debated] Online Safety Bill…[include] an amendment that would give Ofcom, the communications watchdog, extra powers to prosecute tech bosses and hold them criminally liable for breaches of their [newly-invented “duty”] to protect children [from vaguely-defined “harms”]…

The Cop Myth (#1303)

Sleeping with cops isn’t safe for men, either:

A [cop] running for mayor of Houston…was arrested…[for] assaulting her live-in boyfriend with her police baton and stun gun…Robin Williams…punched her boyfriend in the mouth and struck him with her…baton early Dec. 31 at their Houston home – four months after…beating him with the baton and using a taser on him…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1304)

Apparently, magic insta-fentanyl only affects cops:

Camden County [New Jersey bureaucrats bragged] that [cops]…arrest[ed] five men…[for] fentanyl and cocaine possession and manufacturing, [but] 11 [cops who raided them all had panic attacks when they saw the] fentanyl [their victims were handling without harm] and required medical treatment [to get them to stop crying, fainting and engaging in other histrionics]…

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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Are you a girl?…Because you fucking fight like a girl.  –  Matt King

Since I’m not a fan of rap, I decided to commemorate the passing of Coolio with this parody of his most famous release.  He also infamously tried to sue Weird Al over it, but later displayed wisdom and maturity by publicly admitting that he had been wrong and apologizing to Weird Al.  Coincidentally, the other celebrity death listed here was a close friend of Weird Al’s.  The links above the video were provided by Popehat; Emma Evans; Isley and Franklin HarrisCop Crisis; Popehat again; Stephen Lemons; and Cop Crisis again, in that order.

From the Archives

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so very much!

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I’ve always been dedicated to the idea of this as the time of year for spooky fun.  So every year I collect all the spooky, creepy or scary content from the previous year into one place just before Halloween.  If you’ve come to my blog in the past year, or don’t remember previous editions, they are “Trick or Treat”, “More Trick or Treat“, “Tricks and Treats“, “This Trick’s a Treat”, “Tricky Treats“, “A Trickle of Treats”, “Tricking and Treating“, and “Tricks for the Treat“.  Horror, death or Halloween-themed columns of the past year include “Dead on Arrival“, “The Mysteries“, “Could It Be…Satan?“, “The Sparkle of a Star“, and “The October Country“; there are creepy or spooky-fun videos in Links #541#553#566, and #590, and here’s a collection of spooky or Halloweeny links:

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Get down on the fucking floor.  –  typical Chicago “peace officer”

The latest addition to my collection of unusual covers is unusual indeed!  The links above it were provided by Elizabeth N. Brown, Scott Greenfield, Radley Balko, Mike Siegel, C.J. Ciaramella, Cop Crisis, and Stephen Lemons, in that order.

From the Archives

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The government has adopted a win-at-all-costs approach and [an attitude] that the ends justify the means.  –  Michael Piccarreta

Elephant in the Parlor

Politician takes bribes, hires whores.  Yawn.

…federal [documents]…suggest…a years-long trail of bribery between City Councilmember Jose Huizar and a Chinese development firm with a megaproject slated for downtown Los Angeles…[real estate broker] George Chiang…started a real estate consulting company in 2014…that directed money, consulting fees, casino chips, flights on private jets, luxury hotel stays, prostitutes and escort services between developers…[politicians] and [bureaucrats]…in exchange for approval of an 80,000-square foot commercial project and other downtown developments…

Dangerous Speech (#958)

The government keeps demonstrating that it doesn’t really care that its war on thought is wholly and incontrovertibly unconstitutional:

fiery motion to dismiss filed in the Lacey/Larkin case on May 1…accuses the U.S. Department of Justice of “outrageous government misconduct,” claiming federal pettifoggers and government agents repeatedly trampled upon the defendants’ attorney-client privileges…despite repeated warnings from defense counsel…and two [court] orders…the government continued to question former Backpage CEO and owner Carl Ferrer concerning confidential legal advice that was subject to joint defense and representation agreements with other defendants…the government grilled Ferrer repeatedly through “seven successive interviews” over the course of 13 months, beginning the day of his plea deal…In doing so…the government engaged in “outrageous” and “unconstitutional” misconduct.  Prosecutors “willfully invaded” Lacey and Larkin’s attorney-client privileges in order to “gain a tactical advantage in the case,” thereby violating the defendants’ Fifth Amendment right to due process of law and their Sixth Amendment right to counsel…Barring outright dismissal, the motion asks for an evidentiary hearing to determine the extent of the harm done to the defendants and possible sanctions against the government, such as the exclusion of Ferrer as a witness, the suppression of other evidence, or the disqualification of the entire prosecution team…

Negative Secondary Effects (#974)

The human cost of a prohibitionist crusade:

In March 2019 my life was turned upside down…by feminist groups who said I needed saving…Becoming a dancer at Sheffield’s Spearmint Rhino was the best thing I’d ever done.  It gave me the confidence I desperately lacked…[but then] Not Buying It sent private [dicks] into our club to buy lap dances and secretly film the women dancing.  They did this to “prove” to Sheffield Council that Spearmint Rhino was in breach of its own code of conduct and should have its licence revoked.  They filmed women naked and without their consent, and this was only the beginning…it traumatised the women …[and] hurt their families, their friends and their children…the ensuing campaign to close our club left me extremely anxious and scared to go to work…I was paranoid that every person who came into the club was another undercover investigator trying to take my job away.  I was always on edge, watching people, checking buttons for cameras, looking in people’s ears to see if they were wearing earpieces.  I was hyper-aware of customers who used their mobile phones and frightened that they were secretly recording me.  It was torture.  Work went from being the place I felt safest to a place I felt judged and under attack…

Business As Usual (#1001)

Every so often one of these sadly-typical stories gets more media attention:

Agents with…DHS…in Arizona have been “fighting” human trafficking by sending federal immigration agents to [rape women they claim to be]…victims…[then] seizing their assets, and telling the press it was these women who were the real predators.  Federal agents [raped] at least 17…”Asian females” working in massage parlors around Mohave County, Arizona, over a five-month period in 2018…the years-long operation yielded three misdemeanor charges…[the] scenario…is far from an isolated incidentnational and mainstream media have been discovering and disapproving of “Operation Asian Touch.”  This is great—so long as nobody mistakes what happened in Mohave County for an atypical investigation.  If you track initial claims about massage parlor-based human trafficking through to their actual conclusions, you’ll almost always find law enforcement simply targeting sex workers, small-business owners, immigrants, and the people who patronize them with harassment, assault, arrest, property seizure, prosecution, detainment, and deportation. And the “victims” they allegedly set out to save frequently wind up facing criminal charges.  There are only two roles women can play in this Homeland Security-led charade: helpless sex slave or conniving human trafficker.  (Both types…are invited to stroke ICE agent penises)…

I Spy (#1006)

But please, tell me more about “wings” and “blue states” and “democracy”:

The U.S. Senate comfortably approved a 2-1/2-year extension of parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)…by 80-16, far more than the 60 votes needed for passage.  The measure must be approved…by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to veto or sign into law…

Like Houses (#1031)

All they were waiting for was a strong enough excuse:

In India, the COVID-19 crisis is turning out to be the perfect excuse for the government to consolidate its pre-pandemic surveillance ambitions.  Since May 4, as restrictions began to ease, the government has mandated the installation of its contact-tracing smartphone app for anyone who works…or uses public transport.  Failing to do so is criminal…Unsurprisingly, digital rights and civil society organizations are pushing back on the new di[ktat]…

Reawakening

A high-profile example of the quiet rebellion that’s already started everywhere in the US:

Alameda County [bureaucrats] backed down in their conflict with Elon Musk, reversing their shutdown order and granting provisional approval for Tesla’s Fremont, California plant to reopen.  Musk had already reopened the plant for business in defiance of the lockdown order, tweeting …”If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me“…Musk’s civil disobedience against the COVID lockdown regime is a high-profile instance of a wider trend…

Social Distancing (#1036)

At its core, Australia is still prohibitionist:

…as Australia eases itself out of COVID-19 restrictions…in [a] three-stage framework…strip clubs and brothels were specifically listed “to remain closed” even in stage three…other businesses with…skin-to-skin contact – like waxing, massages, tattoos, bathhouses and saunas – are allowed to open in stage three.  Scarlet Alliance CEO Jules Kim [said]…”We hoped this…outbreak wouldn’t be used as an excuse to turn back…gains made in sex worker legislation, but it’s hard to see this as anything but discrimination, considering similar businesses are allowed”…federal [bureaucrats] recommended brothels and strip club venues should stay shut [indefinitely]…sole operator sex workers…are banned after being classed as “non-essential”

Meanwhile, over in New Zealand:

The national lift to COVID-19 alert level 2 means it’s business as usual for many Kiwis, including sex workers…The New Zealand Prostitute’s Collective (NZPC) released guidelines for sex workers on their website…with a checklist of hygiene practices and safety measures workers, brothels and massage parlours should be implementing…

Torture Chamber (#1038)

No human is truly free while governments claim the “right” to lock people in filthy, disease-ridden cages:

In the vast majority of the world’s overcrowded and underfunded prisons…physical distancing is simply not an option.  In situations where close confinement, shared facilities and spaces and poor hygiene are commonplace…prison[ers]…are living in constant fear of the ticking COVID-19 time bomb…UNAIDS, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the World Health Organization and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime are calling on leaders to make detention a last resort, to close drug rehabilitation detention centres and to decriminalize sex work, same-sex sexual relations and drug use.  They are urging countries to release the people who can be released…The Government of Ethiopia…has released more than 30,000 prisoners and has heightened sanitation measures.  Indonesia is releasing more than 50,000…Iran is releasing 40% of its total prison population, 100,000 people, while Chile is set to release around 50,000 people…

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Any gun-rights advocate or pro-choice voter understands that making something illegal doesn’t make it go away, only more dangerous.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

…Mbalaminwe Mwimanzi was watching sports at a friend’s apartment on the evening of January 15, 2019…[when pigs] stormed the apartment with a warrant allowing them to search [the location but not the people] for drugs…[cops] searched Mwimanzi three separate times [anyhow]…[when the first two pigs] found no[thing]…Joshua Wilson, who is being sued by Mwimanzi and the ACLU-DC…[forced] Mwimanzi, who was still handcuffed, to spread his legs…[so he could grope] Mwimanzi’s backside and…[violate his] anus…the[n]…he…fondled [Mwimanzi’s testicles]…Mwimanzi told [the other cops] that Wilson had sexually assaulted him….[and] asked to be taken to a hospital as he was experiencing pain…ACLU-DC has already filed three previous lawsuits over similar [sexual assaults]…

Paint By Numbers

Silly “awareness raising” stunts by crowds of idiots are mostly a thing of the past; now they’re usually marketing gimmicks:

The Greater Dallas Restaurant Association’s 24Hour Dallas initiative introduced an anti-human trafficking program…[which purports to] give…businesses a way to help trafficked persons…“realize they are not free [because they’re very stupid and restaurateurs who have never done sex work know more about their lives than they do] and give them steps to take to escape their captors”…[magic] signs will be placed in public restrooms…on the sex…trafficking superhighway

This is the first time I’ve seen the ludicrous “sex trafficking superhighway” term for I-20 outside of Alabama.

Choke Point (#665) 

Fascism in action:

Following the US government’s assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, PayPal has delayed and blocked numerous small donations to The Grayzone that mentioned this website’s news coverage of Iran.  At the same time…Facebook has censored a The Grayzone video reporting on the US government’s escalation against Iran and its ally Hezbollah.  In 2010, PayPal froze donations to WikiLeaks…Now independent journalism websites…are suffering from blockages imposed by PayPal that appear directly linked to Washington’s aggressive actions in the Middle East…

A Moral Cancer (#972)

Anti-vaping lunacy is quickly reaching “sex trafficking” levels of disinformation:

This is not simply wrong, it’s unbelievably wrong…For starters, the death rate of jumping out of airplanes without parachutes is 100 percent (the odd Vesna Vulović story notwithstanding).  For vaping, not so much…even New Jersey’s official site for anti-vaping propaganda admits that there is only a single confirmed case of a Garden State vaper—out of what must be hundreds of thousands if not millions of users—dying from illness related to electronic cigarettes…also…neither of the vaping devices pictured…are the sort that use the black-market THC cartridges that have been most plausibly linked to most serious illnesses, let alone deaths.  But when you’re dealing with propaganda, it’s best not to get too lost in the weeds (perhaps especially when the propaganda is somehow related to weed)…

See also “Unsafe for Human Consumption” for more unbelievably-exaggerated lies about drugs.

Rotting Fruit (#973)

An account of Epstein’s crimes that doesn’t devolve into torture porn:

A lawsuit filed…by the…U.S. Virgin Islands alleges that…Jeffrey Epstein sexually trafficked hundreds of young women and girls on his private island as recently as 2018 by using a web of shell companies to carry out and conceal his crimes…The allegations…shed new light on the tactics Epstein used to hide his illicit activities.  Epstein…brought girls as young as 11 to his private island, known as Little St. James, and maintained a database to track their availability and movements…Most of the companies were created in 2011 and 2012, soon after Epstein registered as a sex offender in the Virgin Islands following his 2008 guilty plea…[in return for] a…non-prosecution agreement from then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta…[which] shelved a federal sex trafficking indictment that could have put Epstein away for life…The lawsuit…is the first…to allege that Epstein continued to commit crimes after 2005…

Little Boxes (#975)

SCOTUS leaves the conflict between the 7th and 10th Circuits unresolved:

The U.S. Supreme Court…will not consider an appeal by three women who were arrested for exposing their breasts at a New Hampshire beach more than three years ago.  The women — who are now part of a global campaign called Free the Nipple — were arrested in 2016…Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair and Ginger Pierro argued in their appeal that the local ordinance that resulted in their arrests and convictions violates their 14th Amendment rights because it applies to women but not men.  The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld their convictions…ruling that…laws that…criminalize…women but not men [for the same actions somehow don’t discriminate on the basis of gender, because tits]…

Shift in the Wind (#983)

A pro-decrim article by a former sex worker in a conservative-leaning newspaper:

…Time and money spent hunting grown-ups for doing consensual adult things with each other could be used to test rape kits, investigate reports of sexual violence and provide emergency support to victims.  But politicians…throughout the country are trying to increase raids on massage parlors, increase surveillance at hotels and make men like Robert Kraft register as a sex offenders…cracking down on consensual adults in the sex industry won’t make any of us safer…prohibition…creates black markets where career criminals thrive…

I Spy (#1000)

Anyone who doubts that politicians are deranged megalomaniacs should be following this:

Attorney General William P. Barr declared…that a [single] shooting [incident outweighs the privacy interests of every single Apple customer because]…terrorism, and he asked Apple…to [break encryption it developed to be unbreakable so the government can snoop in]…two phones used by the gunman…Barr…call[ed] on Apple and other technology companies to find a solution [to the laws of mathematics.  Spooks pretend]…they need access to [Mohammed Saeed] Alshamrani’s phones to see messages from encrypted apps like Signal or WhatsApp [because he is Muslim]…

With Friends Like These… (#1003)

So helping!  Many respectful!

…Louis Theroux[‘s] documentary, Selling Sex, [exploited three sex workers named] Caroline, Victoria and Ashleigh…Ashleigh and [her best friend] Georgina…published an open letter to the show’s creators and the BBC, describing their disappointment and mistreatment…[by] Theroux and his collaborators…[who] set out to tell a certain narrative on sex work[ers as]…victim[s]…Theroux[‘s]…faux-naive narration…constantly referred to unspecified people finding sex work unsavoury and “unhealthy”..[though] no evidence of this was presented in the programme…Theroux…ask[ed] every woman he interviewed about the…“damage” [he assumed caused them to begin sex work]…There was…no mention of the closure of Backpage…which forced thousands of sex workers further into the fringes…Selling Sex felt lazy and uncontentious, challenging its subjects rather than its viewers…

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I will fucking shoot you!  –  “Officer” Keith Sweeney

You don’t need to understand Farsi to appreciate this very short film by a very young filmmaker (20) which won an award at the Luxor Film Festival.  It was contributed by Mama Tush, and the links above it are from Scott Greenfield, Cop Crisis (x3), Melanie Moore, Radley Balko, and Lenore Skenazy (in that order).

From the Archives

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Anti-prostitution crusaders behave as if we were at war over a symbol rather than discussing possible and partial solutions.  –  Laura Agustín

Check Your Premises 

Yeah, I’m sure they answered the pigs’ fake ads and said, “Hi, I’m interested in buying sex from a potential trafficking victim”.  That sounds totally legit:  “The FBI and police in St. Louis County…[claim] that [14] men contacted undercover officers….[and] were interested in paying for sex from potential trafficking victims…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Just in case you think owning a “legal” sex work business protects you:

A brother and sister were sentenced…to two years in federal prison for their schemes to promote prostitution at 10 Portland-area strip clubs and adult video stores.  Kandace Desmarias…and her brother, Gilbert “Mace” Desmarais…also were convicted of conspiring to evade paying more than $728,000 in federal income taxes by concealing $2.6 million in income from the clubs’ strip shows and prostitution.  The ringleader of the operation, their stepfather Lawrence G. Owen, 75, was sentenced in April  to two years and six months in prison…

“Ringleader”?  Seriously?  Are owners of non-sex related businesses called “ringleaders” when convicted of tax evasion?

Life Imitates Artifice (#139) 

It took four years, but eventually an Islamic theocracy followed Russia’s lead in using “sex trafficking” hysteria as Anti-American propaganda, exactly as I predicted:

[Bahram Qassemi of the foreign ministry of] Iran said…“The root causes of human trafficking lie in unilateral, interventionist and aggressive policies as well as the wars of attrition, terrorism and ethnic cleansing in which the military and security forces of America and some of its allies are involved…the U.S. government…cannot shirk its responsibility for that by playing blame games and leveling unfounded and false accusations against other countries”…

Business As Usual 

Given that cops raping sex workers is both typical and tolerated by police departments, my guess is that this dude pissed off somebody well above his pay grade:

An NYPD cop working undercover prostitution stings in Manhattan…[raped] six women…All of the[m]…illegal immigrants…[Michael] Golden would pay between $40 and $300 for the sex acts, prosecutors said.  Then, a field team made up of fellow officers would burst in and…arrest [his victim]…Under the rules, undercover cops can strip down to their underwear, but they aren’t allowed to engage in any sex acts with the sting targets…

The Hooker Vote (#615) 

Yet another Dennis Hof PR scam, because reporters are stupid enough to keep giving him free publicity:

Licensed prostitutes in Nevada…are organizing against legislation they say will devastate them, other prostitutes across the nation and their families…dubbing itself “Hookers for Health Care,” this group plans to go “on a political offensive…to stop the Republican effort.”  At the helm is Alice Little…who works…at Dennis Hof’s Sagebrush Ranch brothel…About a hundred women working in Hof’s seven brothels have already signed up to be involved with this new movement…

Are these reporters complete dolts? Are they unable to see that a real “movement” would involve prostitutes who didn’t work for Hof as well?  Are they oblivious to Hof’s unimaginative naming convention (cf “Hookers for Hillary”, “Tarts for Trump”, “Pimpin’ for Paul”)?  Why do these imbeciles keep providing free advertising for this dangerously self-centered jackass, who’s happy to get in bed with prohibitionists against sex workers who aren’t forced to give half of their income to him?

To Molest and Rape

“Forced into a sexual relationship” may be the most convoluted way of saying “raped” I’ve yet seen:

…Melissa Granados sued the Otero County [New Mexico] Sheriff’s Department…Joshua R. Sides and others…Granados [reported] that after Sides and four other [cops] entered her home without a warrant and arrested her as she got out of the shower, naked except for a towel, co-defendant sheriff’s Officer John Emory joked with Sides and others that it was “hard to handcuff her … those tits are distracting me”…The five [thugs from] the Otero County Narcotics Enforcement Unit entered her home “claiming they had an arrest warrant for plaintiff, however never produced any valid warrant to enter her home”…later…Sides told her she had 24 hours to accept his offer to work as an informant.  Granados…refused…[then] Sides [coerced] her…in[to] a sexual relationship…She arrived home one day to find him already inside, though he had no key…he…hit her and knocked her…unconscious…

The Widening Gyre (#692) 

I love watching “authorities” get caught up in their own manufactured moral panic:

A SERIAL conwoman who cost [Ireland] €350,000 in armed garda protection by posing as a child sex trafficking victim is facing up to 10 years in jail after pulling a similar scam in Australia.  Samantha Azzopardi…who is now 28…[is] accused of obtaining €13,500 worth of services from the state and charities by pretending to be a 13-year-old Sydney foster child…named Harper Hart…court documents…cite…her “extensive history of providing false documentation, obtaining passports in false names and assuming identities of other persons” in Queensland, Western Australia, Ireland and Canada…

The Widening Gyre (#697)

Those who don’t remember the height of the Satanic Panic may be surprised by this level of lunacy:

Alex Jones…interviewed Robert David Steele, a man whose Wikipedia page lists him as “an American activist and former Central Intelligence Agency clandestine services case officer.”  Steele laid out a strange theory that suggested NASA not only has secretly sent humans to Mars without anyone knowing about it but that…“There is a colony on Mars that is populated by children who were kidnapped and sent into space…once they get to Mars, they have no alternative but to be slaves on the Mars colony…Pedophilia does not stop with sodomizing children…It goes straight into terrorizing them to adrenalize their blood and then murdering them.  It also includes murdering them so that they can have their bone marrow harvested as well as body parts”…

Checklist (#713) 

Just in case you didn’t think you were spied on enough in airports:

…the House’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill…would require new mandatory training for all “ticket counter agents, gate agents, and other air carrier workers whose jobs require regular interaction with passengers” on “recognizing and responding to potential human trafficking victims”…federal agents have already been training flight attendants and other airline personnel on how to “detect” human traffickers or trafficking victims on their planes…There is no evidence these efforts have actually yielded any trafficking busts—which shouldn’t surprise anyone not immersed in some Taken-style fantasy…A heightened sensitivity to anything out-of-the-ordinary—which in the United States can still mean interracial families or a child traveling with two fathers—means a propensity to profile passengers based on stereotypes…Airline Ambassadors International, which often works with government officials on sex-trafficking awareness training, suggests that “children and young women traveling alone” should be considered suspect, as should people who say they are adults but have “adolescent features”…

Interview:  Laura Agustín

Another interview with Dr. Agustín about The Three-Headed Dog:

Why should acknowledgement of structural inequalities mean victimising those less equal?  I’ve never understood that.  Unequal in terms of money and power does not mean unequal in agency, connections, street-smarts or guts…The focus on inequality leads logically to self-positioning as a helper – the Rescue Industry.  And if helpers believe everyone must want to be in their original homes, it leads to deportation…

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Everyone knows that before ubiquitous internet porn, puberty-racked adolescents walked uphill both ways to and from school and never saw themselves as sexual beings.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Think of the Children! 

The subjects of moral panics are always “worse than ever”, yet somehow never reach the point of saturation:

A Hillfields [wanker] says prostitution in the area is worse than ever…Steve Bowen…[claims] residents have witnessed women waiting for business near the nearby school and used condoms have been found outside flats.  But despite the ongoing problem, only four arrests have been made since September 2014…Bowen says…“We have so many children who live round here and to see someone offering their services is life-changing…that is absolutely traumatic to a child…The social disruption they cause is engraved in the community.  The damage they cause to other people is never ending”…

“Life-changing”?  “Social disruption”?  I sometimes wonder if these people are even talking about the same thing.  Like maybe he’s using the word “prostitution” to mean “cops beating someone up” or something like that.

Lying Down With Dogs

What wonderful company the US is in!

An Iranian official has called for the sterilization of female sex workers and homeless drug addicts in Tehran to prevent “social harm”.  Siavash Shahrivar, head of the Social and Cultural Affairs Department in the Tehran Governorate, said those women should be “convinced” to undergo sterilization…”with her own approval, and not forcefully…Over 20 percent of them have AIDS and [they] spread various diseases…In addition to…spreading depravity, they reproduce like hatching machines and as their children have no guardians, they sell them”…

The Red Umbrella boot-cast-guy-who-attacked-sex-worker

In the US, she would’ve been arrested if she reported this:

[Toronto] police are searching for a male suspect wanted in the vicious assault and robbery of a female sex worker…on [December 29th]…After choking the woman unconscious…he…tied her up.  When she awoke, he demanded cash…he…is…approximately 25 years of age, at least six-foot-three with a thin build.  He has wavy red hair, a straggly beard and a light complexion with freckles.  He also has a boot cast on his right foot…

The Widening Gyre

“Sex trafficking” hysteria is now almost pure self-parody:

Eighteen-year-old Maddy’s family say they are terrified she is being “groomed” by a [19-year-old] in Argentina and are worried she is going to be sold as a sex slave!  Maddy’s mom, Tonia, says Maddy met…Andres, through a video game 13 months ago and ever since then, she’s been determined to fly to Argentina and start a new life with a man she has never met in person…Andres has promised her a place to live, money to spend, and…[assistance] with…schooling…Maddy says the reason she came on the Dr. Phil show is so she can prove her family wrong…she knows there is no way her online boyfriend is [a] sex trafficking criminal…

I love the way her dad declares Argentina is “known for human trafficking”, presumably because he saw it on TV or something.

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

A small Brazilian city, Manacapuru, recently made headlines after a local prostitute, Francisca da Silva, was elected deputy to the local municipality.  The candidacy…was put forward by local residents as a sign of protest against the city’s mayor Jaziel Tororó…The woman who started working as a prostitute when she was 11 earned about [$3] per client.  Starting next week, her salary will be about $2,300.  Silva currently lives with her parents and three children aged 6 to 10 years in a hut with wooden walls and a zinc roof.  After her election, she promised to distribute free food for prostitutes on the streets…

Moving Pictures 

To hear these yo-yos ranting, you’d swear this was this film had magic powers and was the only one ever made on the subject rather than one of dozens:

The digital version of SOLD…[was] released on January 10, the day before the Human Trafficking Awareness Day…a shorter PG-13 version of the film can be purchased or leased for screenings at schools, faith-based communities and corporations…The film tells the [fictional] story of a 13-year-old-girl, who is trafficked from rural Nepal to a prison brothel in India in order to repay her family’s debts…The movie has won [7 participation trophies]…at International Film Festivals…Since its release in 2014, the film’s creators have joined hands [to sing Kumbaya while standing on a lawn] with the Taught Not Trafficked campaign…The global average age of trafficked children is 13…“The International Labor Organization estimates that over 5.5 million children disappear every year into sex and labor slavery- more than at any other time in human history,” the press release said…

Cooties (#613)

It’s always “gangs”.  Because you know women are too stupid to use AirBnB for ourselves:

Police are warning owners of holiday lets in the south-west of England to beware of sex workers using their premises as pop-up brothels…Owners have no idea that their…properties have been used in the sex trade…Insp Dave Meredith, sector inspector for Newquay, has concerns that sex workers from central and eastern Europe may have been trafficked into the UK by organised gangs.  Meredith…said it was difficult to disrupt the scams…

Because renting a rental property and causing no trouble for the owner is a “scam”.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#639)

Note that pigs use the same tactics to harass migrant sex workers whether they’re portrayed as “job-stealing” aliens or pathetic victims:

While most people in Jakarta were watching fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve, Immigration officials put on a show for the media, inviting them to film as they did a raid on the Sun City nightclub…during which they detained 76 Chinese women for allegedly working in Indonesia illegally as sex workers…Indonesian social media has recently been filled with rumors that Chinese workers were coming to the archipelago to steal work from locals…News of the Chinese women’s arrest seems to have been taken by some as a form of validation…They face likely deportation though it is possible they could receive up to 5 years in jail for breaking Indonesian immigration laws.

Morality Lessons (#640)

The “progressives” have given religious fanatics a powerful censorship tool:  declare anything a “public health crisis” and it can be harassed at will:

A lawmaker in Virginia has filed a bill that would declare pornography a public health hazard in the state…Robert G. Marshall [fantasizes that]…pornography leads to problems including the hypersexualization of teenagers and the normalization of abuse of women and children.  While not calling for a ban on porn, the proposed bill [imagines] a “pornography epidemic” [which] needs to be addressed…

Utah has moved on to step two, using civil courts to attack since the target isn’t illegal:

…Todd Weiler…who sponsored last year’s porn resolution, said he will soon introduce new legislation that would allow Utah residents who imagine themselves addicted to porn to sue the websites where they watch it.  “I’m trying to kind of track the same path that was taken against tobacco 70 years ago,” [said] Weiler…this silly “porn as public health crisis” meme seems to now be spreading to other states, egged on by folks at the group formerly known as Morality in Media

The Prudish Giant (#641) fountain-of-neptune

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

…Facebook has famously waged war on the female breast…But it’s not just breasts that offend: so do the sculpted genitalia of Roman gods.  An Italian art historian was reportedly told…to remove an image from her page showing a statue of the Roman god Neptune…Elisa Barbari used the image as an example of “Stories, curiosities and views of Bologna.”  But Neptune was deemed too explicit…[even though] …“We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures”…

Business As Usual (#664)

The final tally for 2016: 80% of all acts of violence vs sex workers in Hong Kong were inflicted by cops:

Abuse of prostitutes is on the rise and police officers are mostly responsible, according to…Zi Teng, which offers support for prostitutes…[out of] 615 reports of physical and ­verbal abuse…police were reported on 490 occasions…abuses…[included] 225 cases of [groundless] arrest…100 cases of [repetitive harassment]…11 cases [of rape]…17 [cases in which the cop used threats to obtain hand jobs]…making verbal threats and insults (57)…[sexual] assaults (three) and physical…assault…(three)…clients were accused of 125 abuses…Among them were theft (56 cases), removing a condom during sex (seven), [rape via] denial of payment (19), fraud (six) and one of [forcible] rape…

Presumption of Guilt (#684)

Remember the fascist bootlicker who wanted to eliminate high-denomination currency?  Well, India actually did that, and guess who it hurt the most?

A recent announcement which has seen two highest value bank notes in India (Rs 500 and Rs 1000) demonetised has had wide reaching impacts on many communities.  Demonesation means the bank notes are no longer legal to use.  Sex workers, women, hijra [trans people], refugees and rural poor people are reportedly amongst those standing to be most negatively affected.  The demonetisation policy was abruptly announced on 8 November 2016 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating the two cash notes would “not be legal tender from midnight tonight.”  An initial 30 December 2016 deadline was given for those able to present proper identity documents to bring the cash to banks or post offices for exchange or depositing into accounts…The Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Bank…announced it would accept the demonetised notes for a short interim period as the new policy came into place…

The End of the Beginning (#687)

Another setback for due process:

…a federal appeals court upheld a Minnesota program that indefinitely detains sex offenders after they have completed their prison sentences under the guise of treating them for mental illnesses invented by the state legislature…U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank concluded that the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) violates the due process rights of the people it imprisons…he…correctly perceived that the “treatment” provided by the MSOP, which has never cured anyone in the program’s 23-year history, is a sham used to conceal a punitive purpose and justify preventive detention based on unsubstantiated fears of future crimes…According to the 8th Circuit, none of that matters, because all the state had to do was avow good intentions…

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