Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pedogate's Nightmare Realities

"Surrey’s Operation Arundel, which ran for six years from 2000, centred on the disco in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey[, UK,] where [Jonathan] King and Chris Denning picked up victims in the 1970s and 80s." Image Source: Nick Holt/Daily Mail.

One of 2016's most troubling alt-right and alt-media political rumours was the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. It maintained that a well-connected, pro-Clinton pizzeria owner, James Alefantis, ran a child slavery and child sex trafficking ring out of his Washington, DC restaurant, Comet Ping Pong Pizza; this was after conspiracists had examined photos in his Instagram account. Theorists also accused Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta, of involvement, based on his WikiLeaks e-mail leaks.

This is an ugly topic, which the mainstream media condemned as 'fake news,' a pro-Trump political hoax. Pizzagate expanded into the larger conspiracy theory of global child abuse: Pedogate. Pedogate embroidered an extended, hideous, anti-Semitic story of a global child-killing, about a cannibalistic cabal of black magician bankers and world leaders. The discussion grew so politicized, nasty, and insane that the respectable media dismissed it all as fake news, which left conspiracists even more convinced that all the horrors were real.

My posts on this topic step back from the mainstream dismissals of this information, and from the popular investigations on sites like Voat and Reddit and Youtube. I will look at the rumours as a symptom of larger social evolution, as influenced by technology.

Today's post deals with the facts. The Web has enabled and worsened real problems of child abuse, pornography, sex slavery, and sex trafficking. A later post deals with the political exploitation of Pedogate, and its post-truth meme-ification. There are facts, there are fictions. There is a third aspect here: who is responsible?

CBS Los Angeles: 'Operation Broken Heart' Takes Hundreds Of Child Predators Off SoCal Streets (26 June 2014). Video Source: Youtube. Operation Broken Heart led to over 200 arrests in 2016 and 186 arrests in April-May 2017. You can read the LAPD's statement on Broken Heart from 16 June 2017, here.

The Reality in the Background

Are there any grounds to these rumours? The larger conspiracy theory, Pedogate, is grounded in real crimes. Despite cover-ups and attempts to legalize (under this logic), normalize and even publicly fund (!) pedophilia, police departments have been busting pedophile rings for decades. Here are some of the recent investigations in the UK, with their approximate start dates; these cases have extended over several years:

Toronto Police press conference 14 November 2013 on arrests during 'Project Spade' (2010-2013). Toronto Police press conferences relating to human trafficking are here. Video Source: Youtube.

Project Spade (2013): police in Canada reported on leads to child porn production and child trafficking in over 50 countries. Video Source: Toronto Police via Youtube.

Proof project spade was binned by UK police (1 October 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Internet and mass data storage have enabled and intensified the use of pornography, sex slavery, human trafficking, and the abuse of children. In Project Spade, a 2013 Canadian bust of one online distributor in Toronto, detectives uncovered links to child porn production and consumption in over 50 countries. Police seized an enormous amount of underage pornography. Had it been piled in paper form, the distributor's illegal material would have amounted to 1,500 CN Towers stacked on top of each other. That is a stack of paper 800 kilometres, or 497 miles, high. A subsequent investigation in the Toronto area, Project Hydra, brought more arrests.

The Project Spade police spokeswoman observed that in the days before computers, storing that amount of porn would have been physically impossible without being noticed. Distributing it would have been equally impossible, because the post office would have reported it. Finally, the distributor would never have been able to find global consumers without the Internet.

Project Raphael (York Regional Police, Greater Toronto Area, Canada: April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, arrest announcement, 'Operation Reclaim and Rebuild' (L.A. County Sheriff's Department, 31 January 2017). Video Source: Youtube. A related press conference is here.

Citizens' Responsiblities

Image Source: Voice for Children.

Technology has made the production, storage, distribution and global sale of such information explode. As this material hits the mainstream Internet, the public reacts with a psychological and moral backlash. The scale of the problem goes beyond the scope of law enforcement. A social and political debate begins over what is broadly acceptable.

New levels of awareness demand new, complicated layers of responsibility. This is not a mental exercise which will necessarily confirm your values or make you feel better. When someone is accused of crimes online, and you join the online Pizzagate witch-hunt, you have to ask yourself, 'What if I was the victim of a falsified online smear campaign?'

If you automatically think Pedogate is fake news because the mainstream media told you so, you have to ask: 'What if this accused, upstanding member of society is guilty, despite what I prefer to believe about him or her?' At the same time, when you see underaged pornography online, and you just keep on clicking, you have to ask: 'What if that was my child?'

Anonymous Ops Darknet and DeathEaters

October 2011: Anonymous encountered child porn on the Dark Web. They announced they would take the campaign against child porn into their own hands, because they felt law enforcement authorities were not doing enough. Video Source: Youtube. A 2014-2015 Anon effort to combat child trafficking and abuse was #OpDeathEaters.

Op DeathEaters (2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Some decide to take action against the surge in pedophile crimes, regardless of authorities' responses - or to support authorities' responses. On 14 October 2011, the hacker group, Anonymous, began to attack online pedophiles under hashtag #OpDarknetVentureBeat:
"When we came into this virtual realm, we were disgusted with the content that was provisioned and readily available for the perverted masses ... . You know who you are and so do we."
Hackers targeted Dark Web pedo communities, including Hard CandyLolita City, Hidden Wiki, and Freedom Hosting. The pastebinned timeline of their 2011 actions is here:
"Our demands are simple. Remove all child pornography content from your servers. Refuse to provide hosting services to any website dealing with child pornography. This statement is not just aimed at Freedom Hosting, but everyone on the internet. It does not matter who you are, if we find you to be hosting, promoting, or supporting child pornography, you will become a target."
Hacks led to the arrest of the Freedom Hosting's Brazilian-Irish owner, Eric Eoin Marques on 29 July 2013, whom the FBI dubbed, the "largest facilitator of child porn on the planet." #OpDarknet hacks continued in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The 3 February 2017 Freedom Hosting II anti-pedo hack. Click to enlarge. Image Source: Motherboard.

On 3 February 2017, Anonymous hacked the Dark Web site, Freedom Hosting II, which contained a large portion of child porn and dumped the contents and users' names online. Comments on the dump are here. To give you a tiny idea of the contents, Voat users reviewed and reproduced one of the logs in this dump; it dates from March 2016, and reveals an adult in Vancouver, Canada seeking to buy a girl of 1 or 2 years of age for CAD $25,000:
"(227,'redseven','Hi, dear.\r\n\r\nWe have young girls, if you want a girl of 1 year old we sell her.\r\nPlease if you\'re really interested tell us to start the purchase process.\r\n\r\nThanks you\r\n\r\nBest regards.','2016-03-12',1,1),(228,'redseven','Hi, ok that\'s sounds great I\'d love to have a girl of 1 to 2 years old as my adopted daughter and be a part of my family. \r\nNow, please understand this, as I\'m taking all the risk here.\r\n At this point, I need to verify that this is for real, until I\'m convinced enough before I commit to any kind of payment.\r\n First, I have more questions that need to be answered, \r\n1. Canada is a very big country, can you tell me where (the province) she\'s currently in?\r\n2. Will you accept payment for her in cash when we all finally meet up to close the deal, I can pay in Canadian Dollars.\r\n3. Can you send me a photo and stats of this girl to my email address? (the one I posted in the previous messages)\r\n\r\nI\'m very interested to get a little girl, but if I simply start sending you funds via BTC or WU I\'m taking all the risk with no insurance or guarantee that your will deliver, ok?\r\n\r\nThank You. \r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n','2016-03-12',1,0),(229,'redseven','Hi, dear.\r\n\r\nWe sorry. We understand your preoccupations but we don\'t work that way.\r\nWe don\'t reveal some information about our products without verification and in our system you appear how no payments.\r\nWe don\'t receive in cash, only wu or criptocurrency.\r\nIf you\'re really interested we suggest you buy a bag n°8 with a mesagge: “Start payment process” in order to confirm you want start the payment process of this case (don\'t work with another bag because your purchase is very expensive). Only that way we can do you want, we will send photos, id\'s, etc. Then you could send the rest of money for another payment methods.\r\nIf you do it, the money is safe for you because you can use your hungercoins for purchases or ask refund.\r\n\r\nIf you don\'t like that way, we sorry. We recommend you buy us nothing.\r\n\r\nBest regards.','2016-03-13',1,1),(234,'redseven','Hello again,\r\n\r\nAlright, to prove that you really have what you say you have, if I could pay to meet her for just 1 hour. I\'d like a girl between 1 to 5 years old, if you have this aged girl available right here in the Vancouver, Canada area (otherwise an older girl then).\r\nI\'m prepared to pay $300USD to meet and be with her, I will send payment in BTC when ready. \r\nThis will be the hard proof I need to see that you guys really are for real and have girls like this to sell me. If you deliver on this, then I\'ll be ready to pay the full $25,000 for the girl.\r\nIs that acceptable?"
It is obvious that Internet communications made the sale of this poor child possible, where previously it would have been very difficult for an apparently average citizen to commit a crime like this, let alone even entertain it.

Before the Internet, some people may have had taboo inclinations, but they would have remained law-abiding because they simply did not have the capability to carry out imagined deeds. The Internet extends capabilities as much as it stretches dark potentials. It has encouraged the plastic mindset of secret irresponsibility. The Internet lets everyone indulge, explore, and act upon secret vices.

Thus, Pedogate is only superficially a story about evil leaders murdering children. Nor is it about lone wolf perverts who now talk online to each other, although they do of course exist. Child porn is the Internet's fastest-growing virtual narcotic. This story is about the secret vices of many, otherwise-normal-seeming, law-abiding, 'nice,' people. It is about how the Internet is dragging us all into a collective heart of darkness, where we must understand that interaction with information has consequences.

If the common people indulge these tastes secretly and then publicly blame their religious leaders, bankers, celebrities, and business and government leaders for social degeneration, what does it say about the people? Does populism, with its relentless insistence on corruption at the top, really hold the moral high ground?

Playpen by the numbers (4 May 2017). Image Source: FBI.

In the United States, Operation Playpen led to almost 900 international arrests of pedophiles in May, 2017. The way the FBI handled the case is controversial, because they let a child pornographer walk free in order to maintain a Tor exploit. However, the creator of the pedophile Playpen Dark Web site, Steve W. Chase, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Playpen was launched in 2014, and by 2015 it had 11,000 unique visitors per week, with over 150,000 active members.

On 12 June 2017, police in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany arrested a 39-year-old man, who ran a Dark Web child porn site called ElysiumElysium, which had only been active since late 2016, already had over 87,000 users (!) in Austria and Germany; the site featured sexual abuse of toddlers.

It is not just online porn: this problem involves the actual trafficking of children as sex slaves. In June 2017, 133 traffickers were arrested in an investigation involving 26 European countries.

Citizens become individually responsible for, and must cultivate conscious judgement of, all information they see on the Internet. Mass information forces them to reappraise reality, and their place in it, in granular decisions. Some are transformed by the experience. One of the Pedogate researchers most prominent on Youtube is the Honey Bee (her channels are here and here). Her message to anyone who has looked at the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet was: "Shame on you."

Just as the Internet has enabled and intensified criminality, it has equally brought forth a class of people who consider themselves to be anti-criminal citizen journalists (like Honey Bee) and hacktivists. They will risk everything to conduct semi-legal doxes and illegal hacks, and cross other lines to expose, or end, this problem.

They have their work cut out for them. To understand the scope of the problem, 2017's Freedom Hosting II hack took down one-fifth of the Dark Web by attacking one server hosting 10,613 sites containing child pornography and child sex slave trafficking messages. Motherboard interviewed the hacker on 4 February 2017, who modestly stated: "This is in fact my first hack ever."

Pedophilia has been a problem for a long time, perhaps millennia. There are over 8 million results on Youtube for the search, 'child abuse survivor' (although when I ran the search at time of posting, the search brought over 3 million results, suggesting Youtube cuts videos, or changes algorithms). So why is this problem so politically incendiary now? Pizzagate and Pedogate conspiracy theories challenge people to take political sides over very distressing information, which partly is true, and partly may not be. Conspiracists describe Internet-enabled real crimes and assert that élites are involved. Is the latter element just political hype, fake news, and the worst anti-Democrat smear campaign that Trump's people could imagine?

I think there is a larger trend in the attack on leaders and élites. Pedophiles' crimes often occur unnoticed because we place so much confidence in the perception of decency, class, power, success, and reputation. Pedophiles have always hidden behind these perceptions; they are creatures who exploit a trusted social system. How often have we heard of the priest, the sports coach, the teacher, the scout or camp leader, the charity leader, the choirmaster, the step-parent, parent or relative, or some other trusted figure in a position of power over children, who presents a respectable face to society and does terrible things to an underaged victim in private?

Thus, the underlying question is, how much do you still believe in the system and the message it broadcasts about iself and its integrity? How much has the system rewarded you? Or not? Would that make you more likely to believe Pedogate, or not?

During periods of anti-establishment fervour, trust in authority is already being challenged. Criminals who use establishment associations as camouflage will be coincidentally exposed. Pedophilia - a real crime - is growing because of technology. But Pizzagate and Pedogate - the conspiracy theories - are symptomatic of technology's bigger challenge to the pre-tech establishment.

As such, Pedogate is part of the Millennial redefinition of individual responsibility and communal participation. Whether you believe in the crimes and the conspiracy theories or not, they demand that you state your place in the evolving public square and the new body politic.

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