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Posts Tagged ‘To Protect and Serve’

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom: it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.  –  William Pitt

Nine updates and two meta-updates; two other news stories from this week will be treated in greater depth in my columns for April 29th and May 6th.

The Camel’s Nose (October 2nd, 2010)

Meet CISPA, formerly known as SOPA, alias PIPA, née COICA:

…some people are calling it “worse than SOPA,” and it’s sponsored by a congressman who thinks the death penalty should be considered for Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking military information to Wikileaks.  Be worried:  they think we stopped paying attention after SOPA — so they made…the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (PDF) (aka H.R. 3523)…[which] has the support of companies such as AT&T, Facebook, IBM, Intel, Microsoft…and many more.  A full list of all 28 corporate supporters is here.  The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), is also trying to get tech press to tell you…CISPA is “nothing like SOPA.”  Don’t believe it.  CISPA’s primary function is to remove legal barriers that might keep Internet companies from giving all your communication and information to the government.  It allows “cyber entities” (such as Internet service providers, social networks like Facebook and cell phone companies like AT&T) to circumvent Internet privacy laws when they’re pressured by Homeland Security to hand over or shut down — well, almost anything of yours online that the government wants, no warrant needed…

Here’s a handy graphic (click to enlarge) you can download or link and spread everywhere, and here’s a very comprehensive “tool kit” from Anonymous.  Don’t ignore this, y’all; the fascists figured out they needed to give more to the big tech companies, so this time we have to defeat it without corporate support.

To Protect and Serve (February 9th, 2011)

Another sex worker murdered by cops, and another victim of so-called “non-lethal” tasers:

Adult performer Sledge Hammer…[whose legal name was Marland Anderson, died on April 13th] after…police…shot [him numerous times] with a Taser…Anderson…“had a mild form of schizophrenia, and it wasn’t a problem until he started smoking pot and taking various things for depression,” [friend and film director Stoney] Curtis explained…On Sunday night…Anderson suffered a severe anxiety attack and his girlfriend, adult performer Alexa Cruz, called 911 to prevent him from harming himself…police showed up with an ambulance and…“instead of trying to talk to him or grab him and get him to the ground, or the paramedics giving him a sedative, they decided to break out their tasers and just tasered him excessively until the point where he went into cardiac arrest,” Curtis said…

Once again:  never, ever call the cops for any reason, not even if you think you’re dying.  Because once you do, they think you are their personal property to dispose of in any way they wish.

Not the Same Tree (February 18th, 2011)

This article about a Scottish escort service owner convicted of “human trafficking” is a perfect illustration of how the warped minds of police, prosecutors and prohibitionists project crime and evil into everything they see, and how they and their media lackeys use dysphemisms, distortion and exaggeration to create monsters out of businesspeople:

Scotland’s first convicted sex trafficker…revealed the secrets of the seedy vice empire that raked in a fortune – before landing him in jail.  Stephen Craig…described how he and…Sarah Beukan…ran their infamous Scottish Elite Escorts and recruited girls to join their prostitution ring.  Craig also claimed that footballers, actors and comedians were among the biggest clients…and…admitted taking a third of the money paid by punters to his girls…Craig denied making threats to girls or forcing them to sell their bodies…a police officer claimed one witness said Craig threatened to pour boiling water down her throat…But Sheriff Sam Clark said there was “no pressure, force or threat” on women who worked for him.  Craig now faces a proceeds of crime investigation.  He said…“Police say Sarah and I made £20,000 a week…[but actually] we probably split about £5000 on a good week”…

“Seedy vice empire”.  “Infamous”. “Prostitution ring”.  “Sell their bodies”.  “Taking money” to mean “charging fees”.  The lurid accusations totally unsupported by fact, and the wild exaggeration of his income so the cops can steal more of his property and savings.  I wish there were some way to make these asses fully cognizant of how  ridiculous they’re going to look once Western society fully awakens from “sex trafficking” hysteria.

Give It a Rest (August 18th, 2011)

Remember the Texas strip club which cops were trying to destroy via harassment of dancers and customers?  Apparently, they either succeeded in driving the owner over the edge or else just decided to get rid of him by the time-honored method of framing:

Ryan Walker Grant, co-owner of Flashdancer topless club in Arlington, was arrested after an FBI investigation revealed he tried to hire Mexican hitmen to kill two Arlington city officials whom he blamed for the closure of his business…Grant [allegedly told the FBI plant that]…he stood to lose $800,000 a year if Flashdancers closed for good…

Follow Your Bliss (November 29th, 2011)

Though most “child sex slave” fetishists restrict themselves to writing lurid newspaper stories, this one sought the opportunity for “hands-on” experience “helping” underage hookers:

A counselor at a new…shelter for prostituted children groped and propositioned a girl there…prosecutors in Seattle contend Ralph Nathaniel Wells accosted the then-16-year-old girl in late January.  Wells, 32, had been employed by the shelter as an overnight counselor…the girl said Wells called her out of her room several times…[and] made inappropriate comments and sexual advances, pulled on her clothing and touched her.  Wells was suspended without pay immediately…

Obviously Wells bought his own organization’s propaganda that the girl was “prostituted” (i.e. a passive object without volition) and a “child”, and therefore too stupid and helpless to turn him down and report his sleazy behavior.

Presents, Presents, Presents! (December 29th, 2011)

I got two new presents this week!  On Monday I received a copy of Never On Sunday from Martin English, and on Tuesday a new book named The Origins of Sex from another reader who prefers to remain anonymous.  Thank you both so very much!

An Angel of Mercy (January 25th, 2012)

You don’t have to be a Catholic nun to do outreach to streetwalkers; Cyndee Clay is a lapsed Mormon who heads Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS) in Washington, DC.  In this interview with Metro Weekly she talks about sex work stigma, “prostitution-free zones”, police harassment, harm reduction and the services HIPS provides, including “weekly support groups…daily maintenance groups for active drug users…case management, linkage to care and services, including HIV testing and drop-in syringe access…our bad-date sheet” and condom distribution.

Much Ado About Nothing (April 18th, 2012)

Well, the story’s beginning to make a lot more sense now; it turns out the argument wasn’t over $47 as initially reported, but rather $770 (the difference between the $800 fee Agent Asshole agreed to and the $30 he tried to give her instead).  Some of the agents are now making the sophomoric claim that they didn’t know their dates were whores, which is not only unbelievable to anyone in the know, but also flies in the face of reports that they met the women in a brothel.  And Dania (the lady who was cheated) insists that contrary to what the bouncer and cops claim, the agents were very discreet and she had no idea they were Secret Service.

But despite media efforts to sex up the story and to overdramatize its importance (“Eleven Secret Service agents…and nine military servicemen are under investigation for hiring 20 or 21 hookers”) the American people seem refreshingly unmoved.  My own perceptions and those of several of my sources indicate that more people are concerned with the agent’s trying to cheat a sex worker than the fact that he hired her.  A reporter who interviewed me yesterday (I’m not sure when it will appear) felt that the real story was that Colombia’s system protects women by allowing them access to police, and a Vanity Fair article which quotes yours truly points out that the whole scandal is a convenient misdirection from the issues of the Cartagena summit, which Washington doesn’t want the public thinking too hard about.  Spirit Airlines mocked the scandal in a promotion, and Dennis Hof of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch opined that Secret Service agents should only hire American whores.  But most interesting (and heartening) of all is the reaction in many mainstream media sources (including Forbes), which might be synopsized in the words used by Reason’s J.D. Tuccille: “Maybe, just maybe, we could stop pretending that exchanging money for sex is such a terrible thing.”

Hard Numbers (April 20th, 2012)

Brazil follows the example of our friends Down Under in recognizing that it is attempts to ban or regulate prostitution that cause the problems “authorities” associate with it, and that decriminalization is the best way to eliminate those issues:

A proposal before the Senate…[eliminates] criminal penalties for owners of brothels.  The legal experts…want to end what they call the moral “cynicism” of the current legislation.  In practice, they say, the ban on brothels only serves to corrupt police who extort money and services from the owners of the establishments…Prostitution itself is not illegal in Brazil, nor is it regulated by the government…the change will…permit labor unions to establish a link between the employees and the employer as is the norm in countries such as Germany and Holland.  ”It is a historical claim to the movement for prostitutes,” [said] Roberto Dominguez…legal advisor to the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes…

Metaupdates

Counterfeit Comfort in That Was the Week That Was (#8) (February 26th, 2012)

In their quest for absolute power over the lives of their subjects, politicians can’t let little things like justice, decency or the law stop them.  After a federal judge overturned a Louisiana law banning victims of the “sex offender” registry from social media, tyrants in New York realized the same thing would probably happen if they enacted a similar law, so they used political pressure to force online companies to do their dirty work for them:

Back in 2008, New York passed a law requiring…sex offenders to register all email addresses and social network accounts with the government…[now] Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has  announced the first wave of an initiative called “Operation: Game Over”…[in which] over 3500 sex offenders’ online gaming accounts with companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Blizzard have been banned completely.  AG Schneiderman applauds the effort with “We must ensure online video game systems do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming networks as a vehicle to prey on underage victims”…[But as] the New York Civil Liberties Union [points out]…“the problem…is almost non-existent. Children are almost always abused by people they know – a friend or family member – not by people they interact with while playing video games online.

…Not only are these people blocked from playing with children through these services, they are also blocked from playing with friends and family members.  We are further eroding the ability for these people to reintegrate themselves with society, and for what?  While New York and those gaming companies that partnered with the state continue the witch hunt, they will surely earn some brownie points with parents.  After all, that is really what matters in an election year…Who cares if justice is actually being served?  Sex offenders are expendable.  They aren’t real people.  At least you can keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

A Manufactured War in That Was the Week That Was (#15) (April 14th, 2012)

While I contended myself with dispatching the New York Times’ scare story on “sex trafficking” in Spain via a quick shotgun blast, Dr. Laura Agustín preferred to vivisect it instead.  I think you’ll find the result well worth your time.

One Year Ago Today

Faerie Tale” is exactly that…but probably not in the way you’re thinking.

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How idiotic civilization is!  Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?  –  Katherine Mansfield

Several stories about society’s obsession with regulating and controlling women’s bodies and sexuality.

All Shapes and Sizes (September 8th, 2010)

In this column I wrote:

Porn…tends to make inexperienced young men think that women’s external genitalia are more alike than they actually are.  As a bisexual woman and a call girl who did hundreds of couple calls I can tell you that there is as much variation in vulvas as in penises…some labia are quite wrinkly, others smoother, and they vary in color and appearance…but none of this can be explained to jackasses; girls with unusually-shaped genitalia are sometimes insulted by rude clients, and I’ve even heard of ignoramuses accusing girls of being post-operative transsexuals because their vulvas don’t “look right” to these (usually young) men, who obviously consider themselves some sort of sex experts because they’ve been with a couple of dozen women.  Fortunately, older men have more experience and therefore realize that the genitalia of women, like those of men, come in all shapes and sizes.

For young men who wish to understand how much genital variation there really is, and for women who feel like their genitalia are odd-looking, I present I’ll Show You Mine, a book containing pictures of 60 different women’s vulvas and a little text written by the subjects.  Here’s an illustrated review posted by Story of Tits and Sass on July 15th.

To Protect and Serve (February 9th, 2011)

Police the world over seem to believe that one of the perks of their job is the privilege of using sex workers for their own gratification under guise of law, but it’s pretty rare to see a judge slap them down for it as this one did.  The story is paraphrased from one in the Orlando Sentinel of July 8th:

Six employees of a Daytona Beach Shores nightclub agreed to a total of $195,000 to settle a lawsuit against the city’s police department for a September 2009 incident in which “Public Safety Director” Stephan Dembinsky and 19 other male cops stood around ogling four exotic dancers and two female bartenders while a policewoman felt inside their bikinis for weed.  Dembinsky claimed he had no idea that cops sticking their hands into women’s underwear amounted to a strip search under Florida statutes, which clearly state that strip searches must be conducted by a person of the same sex and any observers must also be of the same sex as the person being searched.  But U.S. District Judge Mary E. Scriven said Dembinsky should have known; in an order she signed in May that denied a motion to have the case dismissed, she wrote “Even if he was unsure of the existence of probable cause, Chief Dembinsky knew that the manner and means of the execution of the strip searches was unlawful, yet, as final policymaker he concedes he did nothing.”

Dembinsky apparently felt he needed 20 cops to serve a search warrant at Biggins Gentleman’s Club after undercover vice cops bought drugs in the club.  None of the six employees in the suit was arrested, but they were searched anyway and one of the women had a single joint; misdemeanor marijuana possession charges against her were later dropped.  Most of the settlement money went to pay legal fees, leaving only $5,000 each for the victims; the decision to pay up was made by the city’s insurance carrier because it was cheaper to settle than to fight the suit.

Some badge-licking editorial comments on other versions of the story mocked the idea that it was possible to strip-search strippers, ignoring both the intimidation factor of 20 cops standing around leering and the fact that no strip club I know of allows patrons to stick their hands inside girls’ bikini bottoms.

Crime Against Society (February 26th, 2011)

One would think that since New Orleans gave cops the option of writing prostitution as a minor offense back in December, and the state recently reduced “crime against nature by solicitation” to a misdemeanor, that New Orleans cops wouldn’t be wasting time and money in prostitution “stings” any more.  Unfortunately, one would be wrong; apparently they wanted to destroy a few more lives with “sex offender” penalties before the change goes into effect.  According to the Times-Picayune:

New Orleans’ narcotics and vice police units conducted a prostitution sting in Mid-City this month, and arrested nine people over two separate occasions.  The New Orleans Police Department arrested four people…at the Rose Motel, in the 3500 block of Tulane Avenue, June 15 for soliciting an undercover officer for crimes against nature.  They also arrested five people…June 21 for the same crime at the same motel…

But this pales beside the mass arrests of three weeks prior, when a total of 51 people were arrested on prostitution or drug-related charges:

Promising an “aggressive” fight to rid the city’s neighborhoods of illegal activity, New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas…said 51 people were arrested on drug and prostitution charges during undercover stings set up during the past three weeks…”People try to destroy the quality of life in neighborhoods” with drug dealing and other illegal activities, Serpas said.  “We’re not going stand for it.  We’re going to be aggressive”…

Of course, the easiest way to rid the city of illegal activity would be to imprison every member of the NOPD, but instead we get this:

For the second time in a month, the New Orleans Police Department has launched a blitz on vice, this time arresting 29 men who allegedly agreed to pay for sex with undercover…female officers…Superintendent Ronal Serpas said police arrested the men in the 9300 block of Airline Drive, the 3500 block of Tulane Avenue and the 7800 block of Chef Menteur Highway during the daytime operation, which took place between June 14 and June 22.  The men were booked with the solicitation of prostitutes and crimes against nature…the targeted areas were chosen because of neighbors’ complaints about illegal activity and information provided by individual districts.  “They (citizens) have children and families and want to use their neighborhoods,” Serpas said…[he] added that prostitution can result in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and is often linked to other crimes, such as carjackings or robbery.  “Prostitution is a crime of addiction and violence,” Serpas said…

…as opposed to being a cop, which is a crime of being addicted to violence.  Just so you know, none of those three blocks are “neighborhoods”; they’re industrial areas whose only inhabitants are rats and the residents of cheap motels.  And of course no story of police persecution of whores would be complete without the obligatory lies about disease and violent crime.  I guess Chief Serpas didn’t get the memo about us all being “trafficking victims” now.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (March 22nd, 2011)

While the United States slips further into barbarism and oppression, it’s nice to see that older, more civilized countries understand concepts like “adult agency” and “human rights”.  According to a July 21st story from Samay Live:

There will be no further arrest of any sex workers as prostitution is going to be regularized in India.  The new law will allow sex workers to live with dignity in…the country.  The Supreme Court holds that the right to live with dignity was a constitutional right of sex workers.  A bench presided over by Justice Markandey Katju on Tuesday sought suggestions on formulating conditions which would enable those who wished to “continue working as sex workers” to do so “with dignity.”  The bench constituted a panel comprising senior advocates and NGOs to look into the problems faced by sex workers and give suggestions to protect their fundamental rights…there are over 3 million female commercial sex workers in India and are often harassed by the police in the absence of proper regulation.  However, the prostitution is not illegal but the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 makes certain acts relating to prostitution an offence, which does not create conducive atmosphere for the sex workers and [they] often become victims of police action.

I’m looking forward to the day when India, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and other countries which treat prostitutes like human beings issue a “human rights report” condemning the United States for its abominable brutality against whores and our clients.

One Year Ago Today

The first part of “The Only Working Girl in New Orleans”, in which I describe my experiences as the only available escort after Hurricane Katrina.

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However low a man sinks he never reaches the level of the police. –  Quentin Crisp

The title of today’s column is the motto of many police departments across the United States, and is often painted on the doors of their cars.  Unfortunately, what this usually translated into in real life is “To harass and control”, or as written on the police cars in South Park, “To patronize and annoy.”  And where whores are concerned, it’s often “to victimize and rape.”  We’ve discussed this subject at length before on a number of occasions, so I won’t repeat myself here; it’s just by way of introduction to two news stories involving police abuse of hookers.  The first was published last Thursday, February 3rd in the Orlando Sentinel, and is paraphrased here both to update it with Friday’s events and to correct the bizarre bias of the author, who seems to believe that the cop’s shooting of a hooker was a less important story detail than his serious traffic accident in 1995.

Sheri Carter, a 29-year-old escort from Boynton Beach, Florida, died about 8:30 AM Friday (February 4th) after being shot on Monday by Jimmy Dac Ho, a 47-year-old police officer.  Ho was arrested on Tuesday and tried to kill himself on Thursday; jail deputies found him hanging in his cell about 5 a.m. and he was taken to Wellington Regional Medical Center in serious condition, where he is being held under guard.

Ho was being held without bail on attempted murder and false imprisonment charges in the January 31st shooting, and with Carter’s death the charge has now been increased to murder.  Carter’s boyfriend told police he got a text message from her about 4:21 p.m. Monday, saying that a client was acting “weird and scary”; either he or someone else [the story is unclear] called the police, who found Carter shot in her home and took her to Delray Medical Center in critical condition.  She had been shot twice, in the stomach and in the neck, and was paralyzed below the waist until her death.  Phone records showed that Ho had contacted Carter prior to her boyfriend’s text message, so detectives went to his home and told him Carter had survived.  According to the arrest report Ho appeared nervous, changing his story a few times and claiming to have shot Carter in “self defense”.  He said he planned to pay her for sex, but they didn’t have sex; Carter then wanted money and supposedly tried to rob him, and he claimed to have shot her in the struggle.

His employer, Florida Atlantic University, placed Ho on paid administrative leave Tuesday morning, and that afternoon he quit for “personal reasons.”  Ho was previously a deputy with the Broward Sheriff’s Office between 2002 and 2004, but was fired in September of 2004 for violating “moral character standards” after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor “disorderly conduct” charge resulting from a domestic battery charge filed by his then-wife, Wendy Jane Ho.  According to his Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs file, Mrs. Ho also said that Ho had threatened suicide during the same general time period.  Ho worked for the university police since 2006 and had disciplinary actions in his file that included a two-day suspension in November 2009 for making a student lick clean an elevator security camera lens that he admitted to spitting on.

“Well,” you might say, “clearly this guy was a bad egg.  And the shooting was investigated, after all.”  And to a degree, you would be right, though I must point out that many cops consider former colleagues who disgraced the force to be fair game.  But the second story involves not just one cop but the entire police department of Surrey, England; this is excerpted and slightly paraphrased from an article which appeared last Friday (February 4th) in Harlot’s Parlour:

An abuse of process suit against Surrey Police was filed today at 2pm in Guildford Crown Court on behalf of Hanna Morris; the case aims to stop the prosecution of Ms Morris who reported a violent attack and now faces charges for brothel-keeping and money laundering.

On 16 September 2009, Ms Morris dialed 999 when two identifiable men, one who appeared to have a sawn-off shotgun up his sleeve, barged into a flat used by her escort agency, threw petrol around and threatened to torch the place.  Anxious to protect the women who work for the agency, Ms Morris innocently helped the police investigation.  Since then, the investigation against the dangerous men has been dropped, but Ms Morris is being prosecuted.  Ms Morris gave the Surrey Police information on the understanding that it was needed to pursue the attackers; she was never at any point cautioned that what she was telling the police would be used as evidence against her, and without it they would have no evidence whatsoever.  If the judge rules that there has been no abuse of process, Ms Morris will instead ask the court to exclude evidence obtained from her at any proceedings which result from the incident.

Ms Morris’ solicitor Nigel Richardson wrote to Surrey Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to ask for the prosecution to be dropped as it is “completely contrary to the stated aims of trying to improve the safety of sex workers” and that “it is hard to see how a prosecution in this case can do anything but . . . make would-be attackers more confident in their actions and increase the dangers for working women. . . the prosecution of this offence is likely to directly discourage the reporting of crimes against potentially vulnerable women and thus increase risks to their safety.”

It is possible that profiteering by Surrey Police and CPS is behind this and other recent prosecutions; under the “Proceeds of Crime” law the police keep 50% of assets confiscated during raids and 25% from subsequent prosecutions, with the CPS keeping another 25% and the Inland Revenue the rest.  Ms Morris’s home and life savings have been frozen pending confiscation if she is found guilty.

Most Americans know that the federal government has given itself the power to steal the property of those accused of drug offenses, but the parent nation has exceeded its offspring in the tyranny department twofold:  Once, by extending license for larceny on the excuse of any “crime” (rather than limiting it to drug “crimes”); and Twice, by giving the power directly to the police so they can more easily case potential victims and thereby concentrate on the fattest.  After all, we couldn’t have the Surrey Police chasing hooligans who are very likely poor when they could instead rob a reasonably well-off madam, now could we?

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