German women launch new anti-prostitution campaign


Huschke Mau, the formerly prostituted German woman whom you may remember from my “Dear Madame Minister” post awhile back, has been busy lately. She’s banded together with some like-minded colleagues from the political and social-work spheres, and together, they’ve formed a new group aimed at helping women to exit prostitution. Die Welt interviewed them to find out what they’re doing, and why:

Lobbyists of the prostitution industry love to swear by their ideal image of the free and self-determined whore, who provides her quasi-therapeutic services with pleasure, and who provides life help on the side.

For 90 percent of all prostitutes in Germany, however, another reality holds true. They need to service at least seven johns a day just to pay for their rent and food. They get degraded, abused, sometimes even tortured. And the vast majority of them do their job not freely, but out of material necessity or because they were forced to — by pimps, acquaintances, even their own families.

Whore, a normal job? “I know of no job in which it’s normal to be abused every day, in which mental harm is an occupational hazard, and gives men the feeling that it’s hot to degrade women,” says Huschke Mau.

She prostituted for ten years; the “voluntarily”, she puts in quotation marks. Three and a half years ago, she exited, with great difficulties. Now she’s the star witness of the scene for journalists, and tries to explain how prostitution is not a job like any other.

Along with Stuttgart social worker Sabine Constabel, and unionist Leni Breymaier, she campaigns for an exit from prostitution — and for the newly founded group, Sisters e.V., which will accompany [exiting] prostitutes along the way to a new life.

Counseling services to help women exit prostitution are still much too rare, says Sabine Constabel, who has been working with prostituted women for 25 years. “A woman who wants to exit is no happy sex worker. She’s ashamed, she’s disgusted with herself, she takes painkillers daily because her genitals hurt, or she does hard drugs because she just couldn’t take it anymore otherwise. We want to make these women a concrete offer.”

Sisters is to be the cornerstone of a network of volunteers helping exiting women on their way into a life outside of prostitution. For that, above all, Constabel emphasizes engagement by civil society. “I’ve given up all hope that political regulation can protect women,” she says. For that, the planned prostitute-protection law will do little to change things; it includes a registration requirement and regular counselling for the prostituted.

Leni Breymaier says that the real scandal is that Germany has long been Europe’s bordello. “For me, it’s not about morality, but about human rights.”

The picture painted by the two Sisters representatives is altogether different from what is still being presented to the public. 80 to 90 percent of the women come from foreign countries, says Constabel; most recently, from Romania above all. Some were sent by their own families after being told that one can earn enough money through sex in Germany to feed entire families at home. Hardly anyone cares what price the women pay for that.

And what’s up with those who so self-assuredly call themselves “sex workers”? “Half of them are dominatrices, and the other half are madams,” says Huschke Mau, the exited woman. “This pro-sex lobby is not representative for us.” The vast majority of prostitutes, by contrast, have stories much like her own: Violence and abuse in their own families, and the resulting sense that they are only good for sex and nothing else. “I have never met a single prostitute who hasn’t suffered violence,” says Mau.

Whether the planned prostitution law can provide help in exiting is doubtful for the Sisters activists. It still follows the demands of the prostitution industry lobby, according to Constabel. At least a hike in the minimum age from 18 to 21 would have made some sense. But this demand failed. The draft proposal, by family minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD), is still before an interdepartmental committee.

Breymaier, the SPD deputy chair for Baden-Württemberg, is also wrestling with the law. “But anything’s better than the law we have right now. We’re going in the right direction, but of the 100-metre dash we have before us, we’ve only put five behind us.” Most preferable, the women have made more than clear, would be a world without prostitution.

That’s a vision that the sex lobby naturally doesn’t share. The “Hamburg Prostitution Advice” group invited the public to a “Second Hamburg Culture Stroll”, in order to “get to know everything about the topic of sex work in St. Georg — with workplace tours from an hourly hotel to an S/M studio to an exclusive nightclub.” Afterwards, at a question-and-answer session with sex workers, one can then “relax over coffee and sweets” and quiz the experts “in peace about everything you’ve always wanted to know about sex work.”

Welcome to the parallel universe.

Translation mine.

Somehow, I don’t think that info-stroll will include the inmates of the megabordellos. For one thing, a lot of them are foreigners, who can’t speak much German beyond negotiating a transaction, and who in any case are probably much too busy trying to pay the extortionate costs of room and board at the hooker-hotel to have much to do with this Happy Hooker lobby group. For another, even if they could speak fluent German, or talk at length about their work, they’d not have much nice to say. After all, they have to service at least seven johns a day just to break even. Little wonder, then, that the “stroll” will be limited to the “sex work” lobby’s preferred domain of hourly hotels (used by better-paid call girls, not lowly flat-rate brothel prostitutes), S/M “studios” (remember, half the lobbyists are dominatrices) and fancy-pants sex clubs. After all, it wouldn’t do to sicken any prospective clientele — or Amnesty-style supporters — with the shabby truth.


Compare and Contrast: Harpo vs. Harpo


Leadership you can trust? LeaderSHIT, is more like it. Typical ShitHead…


Venezuelan navy intercepts three ships suspected of illegal fuel trafficking


“Everything this government does is bad, that’s why now I love the crooks, killers, bachaqueros, and all those who are destroying this country.” Thanks for that, Señora Disociada.

Me oh my, what a bad week it’s been for the disociad@s. And especially their pets, the bachaqueros, those illegal traffickers and speculators in basic necessities from Venezuela, who do such lucrative trade with corruptos across the border in Colombia. Since their preferred overland routes to Narcolandia have been sealed off by the Bolivarian National Guard, they’ve been resorting to corrupting the captains who ferry petroleum products for the state oil company PDVSA. Or rather, trying to…that is, until other state officials stepped in and put the kibosh on that:

Last week, the Venezuelan navy detained three boats suspected of trafficking in contraband subsidized fuel from Paraguaná Peninsula, where the principal refinery of the land is located, a Venezuelan commander said on Saturday.

Sources told Reuters on Monday that seven persons had been arrested for attempting to traffick diesel illicitly in a ship belonging to the state oil company, PDVSA.

Admiral Andrés Gómez, commander of the local navy unit, confirmed that on the ship “Negra Hipólita”, they had found a cargo exceeding 50,000 barrels of diesel from the Cardón refinery, when the ship only had authorization to carry 10,000 barrels.

The situation worsened over the weekend, as it became known that two other vessels, both coming from Panama, had been detained by the Venezuelan navy, also under suspicion of illegal fuel trafficking, Gómez added. It was not immediately clear where they were detained. PDVSA did not respond to requests for comment.

The ship “Mario G”, rented by PDVSA, was detained at the Amuay refinery with more than 1,108 barrels of gasoline, worth some $186,000 US, said Gómez. “Paola Valentina”, likewise, was intercepted for carrying some 4,000 litres of gas oil without the correct invoices, among other anomalies. Nine persons were detained, seven of them in the case of the “Negra Hipólita”.

The arrests come at a time when president Nicolás Maduro is seeking to end contraband-trafficking in Venezuela, and has also closed several border crossings to Colombia in recent weeks.

On Friday, Maduro “ordered that corrupt state officials be prosecuted for collaborating in the illegal trade in gasoline”. He confirmed that “a ship which was transporting 50,000 barrels of fuel was detained, which had only stated it was carrying 10,000; it was the oil ship Negra Hipólita, whose captain and first officer and five other PDVSA workers were detained”.

“They were taking it by way of the Caribbean; we handcuffed them, and they’re in jail.”

Translation mine.

Illegal fuel trafficking isn’t just highway robbery for honest Venezuelans. It’s also dangerous; a ship carrying more flammable material than is allowed is a fire and explosion hazard, a floating bomb waiting to go off. Not to mention that rough seas can sink an overloaded freighter in almost no time. (Remember the Edmund Fitzgerald?) And since fuel traffickers don’t care who they’re ripping off in the name of a couple hundred thousand extra gringo dollars, it stands to reason that they would not hesitate to risk unsuspecting people’s lives, as well. And let’s not even get started on the potential for environmental damage…

What’s really striking in the case of the Negra Hipólita is that they corrupted the captain and first officer of a flagship of the PDVSA fleet. Of all the people who should know better! That’s pretty damn scary. Good luck finding any more oil-tanker jobs in the future, fellas. Which is to say, ROT IN JAIL, CORRUPTOS.

Posted in Barreling Right Along, El NarcoPresidente, Environmentally Ill, Fascism Without Swastikas, Filthy Stinking Rich, Huguito Chavecito, Isn't That Illegal?. Comments Off on Venezuelan navy intercepts three ships suspected of illegal fuel trafficking »

Q. Why did Venezuela close its border with Colombia?


Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro addresses an anti-paramilitarism rally in Caracas.

A. Because that’s where all the crime is coming in from. And no less a person than the first vice-president of Venezuela, and president of the national assembly, is there to make sure everybody understands:

The president of the Venezuelan national assembly, Diosdado Cabello, reiterated on Tuesday that Venezuela’s demand is that the government of Colombia concern itself with its border, as an indispensable condition for lifting the closure in the Venezuelan border state of Táchira.

“We must demand that the Colombian government look after its border,” Cabello announced from Táchira, recounting that whereas the Venezuelan government has more than 3,000 members of the Bolivarian National Guard posted on the 45-kilometre stretch of border, Colombia barely has one police post to guard the zone.

According to Cabello, this unequal situation has permitted the proliferation of crimes such as food smuggling, assassinations, narcotrafficking, and paramilitarism, which affect the entire population of the zone.

Cabello denounced that the situation is getting even worse with the passage of laws in Colombia which legalize financial speculation against the Venezuelan bolivar, and create heavy distortions in the national economy.

“The father of Robert Serra’s murderer has 22 currency exchanges along the border,” Cabello said, referring to the homicide of the young parliamentarian, a crime which was organized and financed by the ex-councilman of Cúcuta, Julio Vélez.

Cabello stressed that the Venezuelan government is fighting against crimes along the border, and not against the more than five million Colombians who are living in Venezuela. “If you are working, keep on working. This is your country. We’re not going to throw anyone out.”

He added that in the years of the Bolivarian Revolution, more than 60,000 Colombians took part in Mission Ribas (a free educational program), 11,000 in Mission Miracle (a free medical program for persons with eye problems), and have received about 3% of the homes built as part of the “Great Mission Venezuelan Homes”.

“The only things we don’t want are paramilitarism, assassinations, smuggling and hoarding*,” Cabello added.

Cabello lamented that the Venezuelan right has given its absolute support to the Colombian oligarchy, which he holds responsible for the historic abandonment of the people who live in the border zone.

“Now they say they’re going to give them homes and jobs. Why didn’t they do that in all these years?” Cabello asked, comparing the government of Juan Manuel Santos with that of his predecessor, Álvaro Uribe: “There is no difference.”

“We’re sad that the two governments are so alike,” he added, stating that the Venezuelan government will stay in the border area to re-establish peace and guarantee the security of both countries.

Translation mine.

So we can see how political assassinations go hand in hand with made-in-Colombia paramilitarism, and how the Colombian oligarchy — and its so-called government — has done nothing about it, except to essentially aid and abet it. Paramilitarism, in particular, is Álvaro “El Narco” Uribe’s baby; ostensibly aimed at fighting the FARC guerrillas, it’s really all about killing and repressing the local peasant farmers, trafficking cocaine, assassinating leftist politicians on both sides of the border, and then pointing the finger at Venezuela and blaming the ghost of Chávez for all the home-grown trouble.

Of special note is the fact that Robert Serra’s killer comes from ill-gotten money: His dad has 22 “currency exchanges”, all in the Colombian border region, distorting the Venezuelan bolivar! How is this even legal? It shouldn’t be, and I suspect that in Venezuela it isn’t. But in Colombia? Well, that’s quite another story. They hate the bolivar and love the Yankee dollar, there. And corruption is the order of the day in that land, where leftist politicians are constantly being thrown out of office — and killed if they don’t get the oligarchs’ fascist message. Just look at the persecution faced by Piedad Córdoba and Gustavo Petro, among others. If any of them ever arrive at full power, watch out. That’s when the paramilitaries and terrorists swing into action.

And they’ve been plenty busy in Venezuela over the past year, with not only the Serra assassination, but also the gruesome murder of Liana Hergueta, an opposition member who apparently knew (and protested) too much. They’re always to be found in every opposition “protest” that turns into a bloodbath, and they’re not at all shy of killing anyone, including members of their own so-called team. And over the past year, they’ve been trying and failing to foment one putsch after another.

Let’s hope they keep failing.

*Cabello uses the word bachaqueo, a uniquely Venezuelan slang term, to describe a process of hoarding and speculating on price-controlled goods, such as food and other household staples. The intent is to create political instability by way of food insecurity, as well as line the pockets of those who already have way too much. It’s an especially common crime in the border regions. Profiteering, like currency speculation, is an opposition/Colombian paramilitary specialty. And the desired effect is to undermine the Bolivarian Revolution and the PSUV government at all levels.

Posted in El NarcoPresidente, Fascism Without Swastikas, Filthy Stinking Rich, Fine Young Cannibals, Huguito Chavecito, Isn't That Illegal?, Law-Law Land. Comments Off on Q. Why did Venezuela close its border with Colombia? »

Chris Alexander, refugee killer


Chris Alexander killed little Alan Kurdi.

Alan is the three-year-old Syrian boy whose drowned body, washed up on a Turkish beach, has been plastered all over the media, Facebook, Twitter, you name it. His mother, Reham, and older brother Galib, 5, also died trying to reach Greece in an overloaded rowboat. Only the boys’ father, Abdullah, survived the journey.

It was a journey they might never have had to make had they not been denied asylum here in Canada. Abdullah’s sister, already living here, was ready to vouch for them. But the Minister of Immigration, Chris Alexander, refused even to see their claim. So they were forced to take the most dangerous and desperate route: the waters of the Mediterranean, in a tiny and fragile boat not capable of withstanding the rough conditions of that sea, overcrowded with other desperate refugees. On that boat, they were 13 in all.

And three members of the family paid for that passage with their lives.

Alan’s small, pathetic body, still fully clothed and shod, made headlines as a Turkish policeman scooped him up and carried him out of the surf. And the damning pictures from that tragic moment have forced refugee-shy European countries to rethink their harsh immigration policies.

It’s all too little and too late for the thousands of families like the Kurdis, who have been streaming across the Mediterranean from the east and south in a desperate effort to escape various war zones and the dire poverty that stalks countries rich in resources, but made poor by colonialism and capitalism. The same global north, also known as “The West”, that has forced unwanted regime changes upon their lands and invaded them politically and economically in order for its corporations to scoop up all the resources they can, is unwilling to accept the consequences of its actions. Those consequences are human, they are hungry, and they are desperate enough to die trying to get away from what has been foisted upon them. And those who did the foisting are trying futilely to beat them back, any way they can.

In Hungary, trainloads of refugees have been held up for days, for no apparent reason. Hungary is in the grip of a far-right government with a fetish for control, but no clear notions of what to do about the influx of people who just want to get through Hungary and into some more hospitable final destination. It’s an awful irony when you consider that just a few short decades ago, Hungary was itself a civil war zone, and refugees were fleeing from there to other European lands, and across the ocean to Canada. (One of them, Stephen Vizinczey, even worked his refugee experiences into his acclaimed novel, In Praise of Older Women.)

But in a way, Hungary’s irony is emblematic of the shitheadedness that prevails more or less throughout Europe right now. Right-wing governments everywhere, and not one of them can work up a drop of empathy for refugees. German chancellor Angela Merkel was caught flatfooted when a Palestinian girl burst into tears before her upon learning that she was probably going to be deported. The incident was much mocked in the media, and caused a hasty backpedal on the part of the German government. Germany is now a much-sought destination for Syrian and other Middle Eastern and North African refugees. And the German people are clear on where they stand, even as their government waffles ineffectually away; whole cities and towns are stepping up to help the newcomers, and the German internet is buzzing with families opening their homes to refugees, giving them a place to stay until they can make a more permanent home somewhere.

I am a Canadian of German immigrant parentage. My mother, born to ethnic German parents in pre-World War II Yugoslavia, came “home” to Germany after some 200 years in the Balkans when war and the invasion of the Russian army drove them out in 1944. Her family were refugees. That makes me, in turn, the daughter of a refugee. And the descendant of other refugees, too: What was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire once took in Germans fleeing religious persecution back home. My mother’s ancestors, Lutheran protestants, fled a Catholic-ruled land. It was either convert to the local princeling’s religion, or else, back then. They chose “or else”. And that meant moving to the Balkans, where the Austrian queen, Maria Theresia, hoped to stave off the invasion of the Turks by populating the land with German-speaking Christians. It didn’t matter to her whether they were Catholic or Protestant, as long as they kept the Turks out. And then they were forced to flee, and my mother’s family became refugees once more…

And now, in an ironic twist of fate, the Turks are in Germany anyway, and the only parts where it’s truly gone to hell in a handbasket are the ones where local neo-Nazis have terrorized and murdered them. And after the Turks, the Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and other refugees have come. Germany hasn’t “gone Muslim” as PEGIDA and other right-wing fearmongers have claimed it would. Rather, the Christian spirit of charity and loving-thy-neighbor is making itself felt. German families are helping refugee families to acclimatize, to make a home, to learn whatever they need to learn, and to find their place in the world.

It wasn’t nearly so hospitable when my mom and her family arrived during the war, though; the refugees, though every bit as German as the locals, were looked down upon endlessly because they came from the Balkans. Whatever refugee-abuse wasn’t the result of Nazism, was down to plain old snobbery. And this went on for years after the war ended, too; the refugees were never fully accepted. My mother ended up going to work in New York for the local Daimler-Benz importer and his family as an au pair, and on a vacation to Canada, in northern Ontario, she met my dad, by then a landed immigrant himself. They married three months later.

I am proud of my ancestral people for having learned history’s lessons so well. And I am ashamed of my home and native land for having turned its back on Syrians, just as it did to Jews during World War II. Clearly, Chris Alexander hasn’t learned a thing from history.

And that is why I call him a murderer. He is just as responsible for the deaths of Alan, Galib and Reham Kurdi as if he had held their heads underwater himself. Because by cold-bloodedly refusing even to see the family’s refugee claim, that’s exactly what he did. By making the rules so that relatives could only sponsor one family member at a time, he ensured that Alan’s father did not even get a look-in. It’s the same, in effect, as denying outright the claim of Alan’s uncle, Mohammed, which he also did. Let’s dispense with inane technicalities here: The truth is that with the Harper government’s cruel changes to our immigration and refugee policy, the Kurdi family was doomed from the outset.

Cursed are those who refuse to learn from the past, because they will be doomed to repeat it.

PS: Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East has a petition up calling for Chris Alexander’s resignation. You can sign it no matter where in the world you are. Please do!


Majority of Germans oppose prostitution


FEMEN protesting Amnesty International (photo: EMMA). The feminist “sextremists” may not be so extreme after all; in Germany, it turns out, they speak for more people than one might think. A clear majority of Germans opposes pimping, and an additional one in five would like to see prostitution gone altogether. Here are some interesting facts and figures, courtesy of STERN:


The blue bars represent the percentage of Germans who think that prostitution should be totally legal in all its forms; purple, those who think it should be legal for the prostituted, but not for pimps or traffickers; and pink, those who think it should be altogether illegal. As you can see, the greatest number, across all age groups and both sexes, think it should be legal for a woman to be a prostitute, but not for anyone else to sell her. The “totally legal” and “totally illegal” groups are much smaller, and even in the groups most likely to favor totally-legal prostitution — men, and those between the ages of 18 and 29 — most want to see the pimps and traffickers cut out of the business altogether.

It’s a slap back at Amnesty, which recently voted to support total legalization of “all aspects of sex work”, including pimping and brothel-keeping, and by extension, trafficking (because let’s face it, there’s no other way supply could keep up with demand). The mainstream of German society thinks that if a woman makes her living in prostitution, the police should not harass her, but rather protect her from abuse and exploitation.

STERN’s Werner Mathes claims that these figures “support the German model”, but the fact is that the “German model” of prostitution law is full of holes, and favors the pimps and traffickers heavily, while the general public doesn’t feel that this lobby should even get a look-in. EMMA’s analysis is clearer:

A Forsa survey for STERN magazine found that 78 percent of all Germans are against prostitution. 59 percent want pimps penalized, 19 percent a total ban. Nowhere is the opinion gap between people and politicians in Germany so great as in the area of sex-for-sale.

While the Great Coalition is trying, after 13 years of failed politics, to prepare a soft reform of the fatal prostitution law, which once again protects the interests of woman-traffickers, pimps and brothel owners, and sells women out to prostitution, the populace has long held a clear position.

According to a survey by the Forsa Institute for STERN, 59% of the 1005 persons surveyed want prostitution to remain unpunished for the prostituted — but not for Pimps & Co. Another 19 percent — that is, almost every fifth person — want to see prostitution forbidden altogether. So some 78 percent want punishment for pimps, who work hand in hand with also-to-be-prosecuted traffickers and exploitative bordello owners. Only 15 percent of Germans are against prosecuting the peddlers of woman as merchandise: 19 percent of men and 11 percent of women, that is, barely one man in five, and one woman in nine.

That is the expression of a radical change of heart and disdain for sex-buying, even in Germany — in the country that today, thanks to deregulation of the prostitution market in 2002, is known as “the hub of sex-trafficking in Europe”, and with its “wellness bordellos” and megabrothels, and their bargain-basement flat rates, has become a haven for sex tourists.

Translation mine.

Yes, EMMA is a radical feminist publication. But as prostitution has become more public in Germany, and its abuses more blatant, the outcry against it has grown. EMMA’s long-held position on prostitution is gradually going mainstream. Art students in Osnabrück recently protested the trafficking of Eastern European women and girls with a public installation of worn-out shoes with “price tags” offering sex-for-sale; men have protested sex-buying and trafficking by pushing women around in shopping carts bearing placards denouncing the practice. German trauma experts have turned out in force against prostitution, having found that the majority of prostitutes they see have PTSD as a direct result of their jobs. Photographer Bettina Flitner has won awards for her work, which often takes the viewer inside bordellos, and features empathetic, non-judgmental portraits of women in prostitution, as well as a sober confrontation with their johns. And the mainstream media keep reporting what women really face on the streets, as well as in brothels…and on the human trafficking that brought them there. It’s not a sexy picture, no matter what the brothel billboards might try to sell you.

Little by little, the German public is coming around to rejecting the idea of woman as sexual merchandise. For it is, after all, mainly women and girls who are bought and sold. And the buyers are almost exclusively male. It is such a heavily gendered industry, so heavily skewed in favor of men and against women, that the inequality can no longer be missed. Where, after all, are the bordellos dealing in men, marketed with gleeful abandon to an eager female customer base? There aren’t any! (That’s because a majority of women the world over can’t bring themselves to buy a man, even if they could afford one. We are not taught that men were put on this Earth to sexually service US, after all.)

Furthermore, it has proved impossible to provide sexual servicing at a price without the inevitable market forces bearing down and making it a race to the bottom. Megabrothels now outcompete each other at “flat-rate” prostitution: all-inclusive sex (minus condom, even!) at a low, fixed rate. And with a shortage of German women “volunteering” for that kind of service (would you?), trafficking of impoverished women (and increasingly, under-age girls) from Eastern Europe has become a “necessity” — as have raids on bordellos dealing in such persons. Of the nearly half-million prostituted women in Germany, a majority are not Germans, barely speak the language beyond what it takes to negotiate a “transaction”, and come from dire poverty — often in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, etc. They are trucked in by mafiosi who confiscate their passports and papers, making it impossible for the women to escape or alert the authorities. And their health is at risk, too, because to cover the extortionate room rates and other fees charged by bordellos (which are NOT to be mistaken for women’s shelters!), they have to service three or four johns before they break even and start making any money of their own (assuming their pimps don’t take it all for themselves, of course).

A dozen johns a day and scarcely a condom in sight makes for a very bad health situation among prostitutes, and don’t think the average German has failed to notice! It’s bordering on a public health emergency, with STD rates up and little wonder. It’s a striking irony in the glitzy world of the “wellness” bordello, where the simple act of getting one’s rocks off is assumed to be the healthiest thing one can do…if one is a man, that is. The women who have to act as receptacles to all these men’s bodily fluids tell another story.

And it’s hard to imagine how Amnesty manages to square all this with their tone-deaf call for “sex workers’ rights”. Um, WHAT rights? When the women don’t even know that what they’re doing won’t get them arrested (and the traffickers tell them that they will, and make sure they do by leaving them without documents, thus rendering them illegal migrants), how on Earth are they supposed to assert even the most basic rights granted to them by the lax and putrid German prostitution law — which, by Amnesty’s lights, is A-okay?

The STERN survey is flawed, too, in that it does not ask what should be done about the johns. It tacitly seems to assume that they are doing no wrong. But without them, this industry would not even exist. Is it right to leave the driving economic force out of the equation?

It’s time for a new survey, this time one that asks Germans what they think of the Nordic Model, where johns are penalized along with traffickers and pimps. I’m guessing that the figures from such a survey would be even more interesting, and an even bigger slap in the face of Amnesty’s men’s-rightsy, pimp-lobby-financed resolution.


Venezuelan authorities raid Colombian paramilitary camp

Venezuelan authorities sift through the effects found in a Colombian paramilitary camp within Venezuelan territory. It’s yet more evidence of crimes that have been terrorizing Venezuelans from the border regions all the way to Caracas, and significant enough that a high-ranking member of the federal government showed up to clarify to the media exactly what it was all about:

Yesterday afternoon, the Venezuelan vice-president, Jorge Arreaza, toured the “La Invasión” zone near the Venezuela-Colombia border, where the Venezuelan federal criminal-investigative police, the CICPC, had found a brothel and a centre for extortion and kidnappings, used by paramilitary groups.

“Who knows what they did to young Venezuelan or Colombian women, to persons they kidnapped, how many families suffered with those paramilitary groups putting people in this cellar to make them suffer by way of extortion,” Arreaza said.

Arreaza also commented that in said house they had found photographs of various houses in the El Rosario sector of Colombia, as well as an agenda containing amounts, in [Venezuelan] bolivares, for “services” already paid.

He also announced the finding of a metal building which functioned as an explosives factory.

“We found a shack which was used as an explosives factory. Also, there were paramilitary elements such as balaclavas, masks, gloves, computers, cash money, petrochemical materials, and uniforms of groups called the Red Scorpions and Anti-Guerrillas, among other things.”

“These are aspects of the Colombian internal conflict, which have nothing to do with Venezuelan reality. They are Colombian gangs and problems which have been exported to Venezuela, a peaceful territory which should not have been the object of these menaces.”

Finally, Arreaza said that “paramilitarism will not be able to take place in Venezuelan territory, no matter how much the right-wing is against the decisions the government takes in favor of the people.”

Traslation mine.

So it would appear that Colombian paramilitaries are not only being used by the opposition to terrorize the people of Venezuela and artificially inflate the crime rates (no doubt in an effort to make the Bolivarian government look ineffective, which it certainly has NOT been); they’re also human traffickers and sex slavers, as the brothel would indicate. And they’ve been carting women from at least two countries there, as well as other kidnap-extortion victims.

And this is just one finding among several, all indicating that paramilitarism — product of one Álvaro Uribe Vélez, ex-president of Colombia and rabid fascist — has been playing an active role in propping up the increasingly farcical Venezuelan opposition. The finding of the facemasks, one might say, is more than a little symbolic, as the masks of the oppos keep falling off their faces at the most inopportune moments.

Posted in El NarcoPresidente, Fascism Without Swastikas, Filthy Stinking Rich, Huguito Chavecito, Isn't That Illegal?. Comments Off on Venezuelan authorities raid Colombian paramilitary camp »

Explosive video implicates Rubio, Ros-Lehtinen in Venezuelan coup attempt

That sonic boom you just heard was the other shoe dropping. One of the suspects in the brutal murder and dismemberment of Liana Hergueta sang like a nightingale for the Venezuelan federal police, and in the video above, he names a veritable rogues’ gallery of right-wing politicians, not only from Venezuela, but from neighboring Colombia, and even from the US. And none other than the president of Venezuela himself was on hand to make the information public to all the TV viewers of the land:

The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, presented a video in which one of the men accused of dismembering a woman in Caracas, and who has ties to the opposition, states that he received, via intermediaries, money from US Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, in order to finance the “protests” of 2014.

José Rafael Pérez Venta, who says in the video that he belonged to the opposition parties Voluntad Popular (VP) and Alianza Bravo Pueblo, states that Rubio, as well as fellow Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen sent money to him via a person named Betty Grossi, though he did not specify the amount nor explain how he knew it came from the US politicians.

After naming the US congress members he maintains that “[Ros-Lehtinen] earmarked a certain amount in dollars which she or they sent, sending it in an envelope, or directly to [Grossi’s] account, and [Grossi] made the conversion and handed over the money herself,” Pérez Venta explains in the interrogation video.

Pérez Venta also says he received “a contribution of $1,000” from Phil Laidlaw, whom he identified as a chargé d’affaires from the US embassy in Venezuela, and who, according to Pérez Venta, used Gaby Arellano, a known student leader and VP party member, as intermediary.

He does not explain either, in this case, how he knows that the dollars Arellano gave him come from this supposed functionary.

Maduro said on tuesday, on his weekly TV/radio program, that Pérez Venta, as well as other prisoners, “have served as bodyguards to the principal leaders of the Venezuelan opposition”, and stated that “like this group, we have detected 30 groups trained and financed from Colombia, by the paramilitaries of [Álvaro] Uribe.”

“This group, which was connected to the highest level of right-wing leaders in Colombia, and of the Venezuelan right, had plans to assassinate well-known political leaders, of the opposition right wing, and of the Revolution,” he added.

In the video, Pérez Venta says that, on an unspecified date, he was in the western Venezuelan state of Táchira, where he received “money from Colombia implemented by some people who handled the fabrication of explosives and the location of this type of artefacts.”

He also states that in the neighboring country, he met with Colombian ex-president Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010), as well as Oscar Iván Zuloaga, one of his ministers.

He indicated that the attack on the Public Ministry in Caracas, following the anti-government march of February 12, a date marking the beginning of a six-month wave of anti-government protests throughout the land, was prepared by the VP leader, Leopoldo López, currently in jail for crimes related to the same.

Also implicated are parliamentary ex-deputy María Corina Machado and the metropolitan mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, who is under house arrest following accusations of conspiring.

He also accuses the president and editor of the daily newspaper, El Nacional, Miguel Henrique Otero, of “complete and perpetual financing for the confrontations” which took place in the upper-class Caracas suburb of Chacao.

Translation mine.

Of course, the opposition are all up in arms, as usual, and claiming the government is trying to “smear” them. Hardly! As you can see in the video, the prisoner has not been tortured and is making all his statements freely, without needing to be prompted in any way. (The interrogator’s voice is disguised for security reasons, hence the subtitles.) It’s not the government smearing the opposition; it’s one of their own henchmen pointing the finger back at his bosses.

And those bosses are, as my entry from the other day says, not native to Venezuela. At least two of them are Colombian; three from the US, two of them members of Congress, and the other an embassy official; and lower on the food chain, all the usual suspects of the Venezuelan opposition: Prettyboy Leo, Maricori, Majunche Capriles, Grandpa Monster, and Miguel Henrique Otero, the crappiest newspaper proprietor in all the land. Plus Gaby Arellano, the opposition student leader, as bag-girl and messenger for the gringo financiers and the terror-cell killers.

Bolivarian socialists — a majority of Venezuelans — call their opposition leaders “sinvergüenzas”, meaning shameless people. As you can see, they come by the term honestly…well, as honestly as one can, if one is of the Venezuelan opposition. And honesty is not one of their policies, to be quite honest.


Leading German mega-pimp plans his exit

I’ve often heard it said that of every ten women or girls in prostitution, eight or nine want out. Apparently, they’re not the only ones. Sometimes, mirabile dictu, a pimp also wants out of the game. Of course, in the case of a certain notorious German one, the reasons for his doing so vary considerably from those of the ladies:

“I’m in negotiations,” says Jürgen Rudloff.

The entrepreneur, who among other things is head of the Paradise megabordello in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, told the Stuttgarter Zeitung on Friday that he intends to sell his “entire business”. By that he means three houses, in Frankfurt, Saarbrücken and Echterdingen. About the negotiations, he’s not saying anything else.

In the trade, they’re talking of some 30 million euros for all three businesses. Leinfeld-Echterdingen is estimated to be worth eight or nine million euros. “I can’t comment on that, as long as talks are underway,” says Rudloff. As for his own business plans for the future, the 61-year-old is keeping that to himself.

That Rudloff is apparently withdrawing from the sex industry is not surprising, as his business is currently under investigation by the public prosecutor’s office. Since last fall, charges have been laid against him and his business manager. Rudloff is alleged to have drummed up investments, but then not used these for the building of other brothels, but for his own purposes. In the local courts, there’s a case concerning human trafficking, sexual exploitation and pimping against two prostitutes at the Paradise club, as well as against a young man. The man is alleged to have claimed to be in love with young women, and thus lured them into prostitution.

The bordello chief, who is currently believed to be living in Switzerland, continually emphasizes that he did not offer his businesses for sale, but that someone had approached him. It allegedly concerns “a large undertaking” that has the necessary capital, but has long had nothing to do with the sex industry.

Also important for Rudloff is to advertise that the interested buyer allegedly intends to continue the existing business. “That is, no one in the houses need fear losing their job, everyone is staying,” says the outgoing boss. After all, he created some 60 jobs in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, so he preens himself. The sale price, at least in the case of the Paradise, concerns only the business and not the building. The building is allegedly rented. “The business revolves around the whole company, with rented and purchased buildings,” Rudloff adds.

Translation mine.

Yes, I can see why Jürgen Rudloff would want out. Last December, I blogged on a raid that took place on Rudloff’s premises in Stuttgart, which was part of a larger police operation against human trafficking and “loverboy”-style pimping, as well as alleged bilking of brothel shareholders (yes, there is such a thing as brothel-investing in Germany!). Rudloff is now a household name for all the wrong reasons, and I suspect it’s only a matter of time before he’s hauled into court himself to answer on pimping and human-trafficking charges. So it’s little wonder that he’s making coy noises about “selling the business”. He’s trying to wash his hands of the whole affair before the investigators can trace it all back to him.

But hey. In a world where pimps routinely refer to themselves, as well as their prostitutes, as “sex workers”, thus blurring the lines between exploiter and exploited, is it really so surprising that a pimp might get fed up, and decide to exit too?


Of knockout drops and pudding pops: The “respectability” of Bill Cosby


Isn’t this old Bloom County ‘toon prescient? Because yes, there is finally a black man in the White House, and sure ‘nough, he’s a conservative — and fuck all those racist idiot ratbastards who claim he’s a socialist from Kenya. They know nothing about Kenya. Or socialism. (BTW, Bloom County is FINALLY coming back to the newspapers this year, presumably to make hay off Donald Trump’s toupée. Yay!)

Anyhow. Black conservatism, a.k.a. Respectability Politics, is what I came here to rant about this fine morning. And yes, Bill Cosby figures prominently in all that.

About ten years ago, you see, Bill Cosby said something about black kids needing to dress better and act more respectable, so all the totally-not-racist white people would finally start treating them as human beings, instead of the filthy animals they’ve long been made out to be — first under slavery, then Jim Crow, and most recently, drug policing. That latter, by the way, is what spawned the sloppy-pants trend in the first place.

It’s called “sagging” now, but originally it was called jailing, and it all began when black kids started being rounded up en masse and sent to jail for extended periods — often for the kind of simple, small-scale marijuana possession that would get a richer — ahem, more respectable — white kid let off with a warning. In the jails, you’re stripped of anything you might want to hang yourself with, be it belts, shoelaces, or what have you. So you have no choice but to slop around in baggy pants hanging off your skinny hips, and unlaced sneakers too big for your feet. The fashion became an ironic commentary on the futility and stupidity of trying to be “respectable” when nobody respected you, just on the basis of your color alone.

And then Bill Cosby came out with that whole “pull up your pants” shit. Like he hadn’t even been paying attention to what was going on while black kids were being decimated by crack cocaine (which the CIA, by the way, actively allowed to come in, because those cuddly Nicaraguan “Contras” who trafficked the stuff just needed some love!)

It was a stupid thing to say, and it was precisely the sort of thing one would expect of someone who couldn’t bring himself to say the R-word, because those same oh-so-conservative white folks who made the bad drug laws (and let the bad drugs into the ghettoes) had, after all, bankrolled him. And how could Bill denounce something that had basically made him who he is? Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima are fictional figures, based on the old plantation stereotypes of happy, respectable “house negroes”, but Bill Cosby was the real, present-day thing, and he made a lot of boodle pushing Jell-O Pudding Pops. Chocolate AND vanilla!

And now we know that the entire time he was preaching Respectability and shit, Bill Cosby was, in fact, pushing illegal drugs himself. Onto women. Black women, white women, didn’t make no nevermind to ol’ Bill. He liked both chocolate AND vanilla, and he preferred them all to be unconscious when he did…well, whatever it was he did to them that none of them can remember a thing of after he fed them alcohol laced with knockout drops.

When you get dozens of women all describing remarkably similar patterns of behavior, you know something is hinky in Huxtable Manor. You’d think that the word of at least 50 different women would be enough to send him up Shit Creek, but no. Nothing less than an admission of guilt — to buying Quaaludes under seven prescriptions! — was enough to finally convince respectable (cough) folks that yes, Bill Cosby DID rape all those women whom nobody believed.

What’s really shameful was how he got away with such blatant abuse for decades. Even now, Bill Cosby is still not in jail. Because, as Cee Lo Green said, it ain’t rape if you can’t remember shit. Right?


It IS rape when the victim can’t remember what happened between that funky-tasting drink he kept urging her to have (and which she didn’t actually want), and waking up sore between her legs the next morning while he hung around her naked self in his bathrobe, looking all weirdly smug. It is, by definition, rape — because she did not consent to being penetrated. The very fact that her assailant had to administer drugs to make her pliable ought to be a huge red flag.

But the proponents of Respectability are especially hard on women, be they chocolate or vanilla. You can’t prove anything! they say. She took that drink willingly! That means she consented to sex! Women don’t accept drinks from men unless they want to — and if they do, that makes them filthy sluts whom you should never believe!

Wrong again. Wrong, wrong, wrongity-wrong WRONG.

Taking a drink of alcohol — especially one that’s been drugged and urged upon you by a man with ulterior motives — is NOT consent. Only the word “yes”, freely and consciously given, is consent. Only if a man asks if you want to have sex, and you say you do, is it consent. There is nothing difficult or complicated or “grey” about this, people. Anything outside of that simple, clear band is coercion, and that makes these creepy encounters rape. By definition.

But even now, the proponents of Respectability are still trying to spin this to make their misogyny (and their misogynoir) look normal. You see some mighty strange things at the corner of Racist and Sexist, including old married ladies who, even knowing that their husbands have done wrong, still defend him as though their own lives depended on his innocence. Yes, Camille Cosby, I’m talking about YOU here. Being his business manager, as well as his wife, no doubt gives you a stake in his “respectable” image…and also makes you complicit in his crimes, when all’s said. After all, covering up a crime is a crime in itself.

Bill Cosby is no Trayvon Martin. He’s no Emmett Till, either. There is no need to defend him in the name of black kids who couldn’t defend themselves. He is perfectly capable of sticking up for himself if he so pleases. Nobody’s lynching him for crimes he did not commit. He’s still walking free, and still making money off his public appearances, where he routinely tells unfunny “jokes” about how to get women to “have sex with” you by drugging them. And it seems that he will go right on doing so until a warrant goes out for his arrest — or someone flings rotten tomatoes and makes them stick, whichever comes first. Money, and the appearance of respectability it confers, goes a long way toward excusing just about anything, you see. And he’s still making it by the bucketful. In his sleep, even.

Yes, I do believe it is finally okay to loathe Bill Cosby and his fucking pudding pops. And all the racism and sexism that he’s perpetuated in the name of Respectability, too.