Majority of Germans oppose prostitution

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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

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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?

WRONG.

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.

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Greece and Puerto Rico: Cristina nails the connections

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Remember when Argentina was under attack from a flock of circling black birds with briefcases in their claws? Well, those same birds are now circling around the isles of Greece…and Puerto Rico. And a certain lovely lady president, who is all too familiar with their dirty tricks, has called them out:

The president of Argentina, during a speech in recognition of the work of Argentine scientists, stated that what the Greek people are living through is exactly what the Argentine people have lived through.

“Today, 60 percent of young Greeks don’t have jobs. You know that Greece is spending 2.6 percent of its Gross Domestic Product on military spending, for purchases made from France, Germany and the US, because Greece represents a strategic position, due to its location on the Mediterranean. For that reason, I believe that we must look very closely at the world, and not just at ourselves, because sometimes, decisions are made which require global recognition.”

The president added: “We have achieved a victory before the World Trade Organization (WTO) in that the US will open its markets to Argentine meat […] After 15 years, Argentina will once again send meat to the US.” What that means is that “we have lost 6.2 billion dollars in meat exports.”

Cristina Fernández also brought up Puerto Rico, since “25 percent of its economy is controlled by hedge funds”. The president stated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is going out of fashion, and that “there are other actors who are now imposing conditions on countries”, alluding directly to the “vulture” funds.

Translation mine.

Oh, that Cristina. Never shy of telling it like it is, eh? A six-billion-dollar stealth blockade of Argentine meats is a helluva punishment for not selling off the country at fire-sale prices to foreign “investors”, but Argentina stood firm. So did Cristina.

And today, she’s vindicated. The vultures have backed off, and Argentina is back at the table, this time with dignity.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico has found out the hard way what it really means to be an undeclared US state, with second-class citizenship, at that. 25% of the nation’s economy in vulture capitalist claws? What better reason to declare Puerto Rican independence, and kick the feathery bastards out?

And Greece is now looking at a referendum to decide whether to accept or reject the EU’s vulturish “conditions” for staying in the Eurozone. If they’re smart, they’ll say “Ochi” (“no”) to the Germans all over again, same as they did way back in World War II, when Greece was being run by Nazis. Because, in the economic sense, that’s exactly what this situation is…and Cristina, never one to clam up when there’s something in dire need of saying, has pegged it. Fiscal imperialism is just one more form of fascism without swastikas, and poor countries are getting tired of paying for the sins of the rich.

Plus there’s the inconvenient fact that Germany owes Greece war reparations for those said Nazi times…reparations which have never been paid. If they’re smart, they’ll cancel the Greek debt and let that country breathe again. But what are the odds that they’ll do the smart thing, as long as the vultures are still circling and crawking for their pound of souvlaki?

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German women take on brothel ads

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Karina Alteweier, a physician assistant in Leverkusen, Germany, points out an example of the kind of advertising she’s fighting in her city. Right next to it, a children’s musical is advertised. The brothel’s name, address, and other details are blocked out, but you can see that a day pass to enter the premises costs 55 euros. That’s dirt cheap, considering what it costs the women and girls who are typically imported from Eastern Europe to service those places (because there are not many German women who would freely contemplate such a job). EMMA interviewed Karina about what she does when she sees such ads…which, by the way, are illegal according to the local vice code.

EMMA: Frau Alteweier, you’ve been fighting for years against brothel advertising in your city. You’ve even gone to the complaint department of the mayor’s office.

KA: Exactly. I informed them there that according to Paragraphs 119 and 120 of the vice code, advertising for brothels is not allowed.

EMMA: How did you get involved against brothel advertising?

KA: One morning in 2011, on my way to work, I saw a huge billboard for the megabrothel “Pascha”, in Köln. My head exploded. I can’t accept that prostitution gets advertised as if it were ice cream — as if it were the most normal thing in the world. For me, as a woman, that’s discriminatory. And what image of women does that give our young people? I’m the mother of a 21-year-old son, and it’s horrific for me to imagine him going to a bordello. When I asked him about it, he got mad and said, “Mama, how can you think such a thing?”

And moreover, what effect must such an ad have on the victims of sexual abuse? For a woman who was abused as a child or a teenager, it must be like a slap in the face to see the sexual availability of women being advertised so casually.

EMMA: What did you do?

KA: I complained everywhere. I even called the police. There, they were very cranky and downright rude. And at the company that rents the ad space, an employee waved me off: “What’s the matter with you, that’s a chic photo!” So I went to the city offices, where there’s always an open ear for me. I also turned to the press. They reported it in a big, critical way. Some of the ads also hung along a school route, and mothers protested against that as well. Then the ads disappeared.

EMMA: The Pascha ads haven’t appeared again since then. But now there’s a megabrothel in Erkrath advertising for some time with the headline “100 Girls”.

KA: It all started with small flyers pasted up on bridges. I also complained about that to the city. So then the city put up signs in various places: “No advertising!” Meanwhile, this brothel has been putting up huge billboards. I counted them. Here in Leverkusen alone, there are at least ten. So then I called the city offices and had those ads taken down too, but it took three weeks. So my complaints have almost always had results.

EMMA: But that’s not enough for you.

KA: No. I don’t want to have to complain again and again every time there’s an ad. I want the city to make clear that it won’t tolerate any brothel advertising, and that ad space must not be rented to brothels in the first place. For that reason, on May 11, I wrote another letter of complaint to the city and asked to make use of my right to speak to the complaint department.

EMMA: How did the department react?

KA: Before the session, they sent me back a letter saying that there is a “changed understanding on the part of the public regarding prostitution”, and that one would have to deal with the advertising on a “case by case” basis. For instance, one would have to see if there were hints of “forced” prostitution, or “prostitution of minors”. As if they would write that on their billboards! Also, there are other cities, like for example Bremen, that don’t allow any brothel advertising at all.

EMMA: How did the complaint department respond to that?

KA: I told them again that advertising for prostitution is illegal, and then read them the corresponding paragraphs. I also told them that I know many people in my area who are not at all tolerant of prostitution, and don’t find this brothel advertising acceptable at all. But some of the department members didn’t listen to me at all, and just talked amongst themselves. They didn’t want to discuss it, either. After my presentation, they decided to keep things as they were. Luckily, a lady from the press was sitting next to me. She was disgusted at their ignorance and offered to write an article about this consultation.

EMMA: Meanwhile, you have the support of equality commissioner Sabine Rusch-Witthorn.

KA: She accompanied me to the sitting at my request, and plans to keep going with the topic.

EMMA: You too?

KA: Naturally! I have so much support. My chief physician and my colleagues all share my opinion completely. Whenever they read an article on the matter in the paper, they say: “You’re completely right, we see it that way too!” And there are always lots of supportive letters from the readers. That affirms and encourages me, naturally. I’m sticking with it; I can’t do otherwise. Every time I see such an ad, my motor starts running again.

Translation mine.

Karina’s battle is uphill, and little wonder: Germany’s bordellos bring in billions of euros a year in gross revenue. There are nearly half a million women in prostitution there, most of them foreigners. It’s a vicious circle: Legalization creates normalization; normalization creates demand; demand spurs traffickers to increase the supply of prostituted persons from out of country; more supply, more normalization; more normalization, more money!

And as long as the brothel operators pay their taxes and the police don’t get too many calls about violence on the premises (even though it happens, and far more often than is mentioned in the media), the city authorities don’t much care what goes on in there. It takes nothing less than the most flagrant human rights abuses, disease outbreaks, and accusations of human trafficking that stick before a bordello gets shuttered. The money apparently matters more than the well-being of the girls, who are typically under 20 and speak little German (or English) beyond what it takes to reel off a price list and negotiate a transaction. It’s a situation where abuse isn’t a glitch, it’s a feature.

And if you think it’s any safer in brothels than it is on the street, read Rebecca Mott’s interview here and find out why pro-prostitution campaigners are so eager to push the “indoors = harm reduction” meme. You’ll see it has a lot less to do with prostituted people’s safety than it does with lack of accountability, and the abusers’ and exploiters’ ability to get away with everything (up to and including murder). Off the street is out of sight, and out of sight is out of mind…or so the pimp lobby reckons.

Of course, as brazen as they are, they reckoned without the likes of Karina and her colleagues, who aren’t fooled by all this defensive, dismissive talk of a “changed morality” in Germany. It’s a bald-faced lie that all German women support prostitution, seeing it as an “escape valve” for “dangerous impulses” that would otherwise lead to rape. Rape is still happening, and in fact is more rampant than ever; unprostituted women are now afraid to walk through red-light districts because drunken brothel patrons often accost them on the street! (Normalization creates demand, remember?)

It’s also a lie that the country is better and happier since prostitution was legalized in 2001. It might be richer in some small parts, thanks to horny foreigners on sex tours, but that’s not an improvement! The wealth is not trickling down. Most prostitutes are desperately poor when they enter, and no better off when they exit. Women are still being assaulted, abused and murdered, and many of them are in prostitution when it happens. The closed doors of the brothel conceal a multitude of crimes against humanity. And the spillover from that reaches onto the streets, too…where prostitution hasn’t exactly abated, either.

These activists, however, know their local laws and are disgusted with the blatant abuses going on under their noses. And they will not stop opposing the pimps’ efforts to turn a profit at everyone else’s expense. Even those with no children to worry about can figure out for themselves what it must feel like to someone who was sexually abused at an early age to see acts similar to those committed against her being “legally” advertised for sale…on a billboard, a wall, or a city bus. To such individuals, the city authorities’ reluctance to step in and stop it must feel like a whole fresh round of abuse.

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Cops Behaving Badly: A foretaste of C-51?

Via Canadaland, a little whiff of what the cops have already got cooking for us lowly, democracy-loving peons:

What an interesting* statement from the Mountie! “Attacking the Canadian economy”, just by PROTESTING the Harper government’s piss-poor handling of it? Shades of the 2010 G20 demos in Toronto, when a cop told protesters that “this ain’t Canada right now”.

Meanwhile, here’s what constitutional legal expert Rocco Galati has to say about all that:

Note that Mr. Galati is Italian. No doubt he knows a thing or two about Fascism, just as I, being German, know a thing or two about Nazism.

Of course, only bad Germans complained about Nazism when it became the law of the land. Bad Germans like my grandpa Becker, who was absolutely no leftist. But he was a mouthy man, and he had the audacity to complain about how you could no longer buy decent shoes thanks to that shitty Austrian usurper. And got called up on the carpet by the Gestapo, and received oblique death threats to his four children, of whom my father was the oldest, just for those casual remarks.

The “good Germans”, as we have so often been told, sat on their hands and let it happen. Just as we good Canadians, with nothing to hide, are now being expected to do with C-51…which is not law just yet.

*”Interesting” in the sense of the old Chinese curse, of course.

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“El Colombia”, assassin of Robert Serra, extradited to Venezuela

Video of Venezuelan National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello, on his VTV show, Con el Mazo Dando (“Giving it to them with a club”), promising that soon, the Colombian paramilitary thug who murdered PSUV deputy Robert Serra and his girlfriend, María Herrera, last October in their Caracas home, will be extradited to face justice in Venezuela. That extradition took place yesterday, as Venezuelan federal officials arrived at Simón Bolívar Airport in Maiquetía to pick up the trash:

el-colombia-extradition

Meanwhile, it appears that the assassin’s gruesome work was a family affair. From Últimas Noticias, via Contrainjerencia, we learn that the ringleader’s wife and son were in the bloody tapioca up to their eyeballs, too:

The criminal named Padilla Leiva, known as “El Colombia”, who planned and directed the crime against Venezuelan parliamentary deputy Robert Serra and María Herrera, has the distinction of being a bloodthirsty man and also, of having taken the lives of two men in La Yaguara two weeks before the assassination, according to sources linked to the investigation.

According to the source, “El Colombia” and his son, known as “El Eme” (“M”), were the ones who proceeded to kill Serra and Herrera with an icepick and a knife, since the idea was not to make any noise. They stabbed him 20 times in the chest and four in the back. One of the final stab wounds, which penetrated from the side, is considered to be the mortal one, since it affected several vital organs. President Nicolás Maduro said, on Wednesday at a press conference, that first they took the life of the parliamentarian and then, as they were on their way downstairs and out of the house, they killed María Herrera.

The wife of “El Colombia” and mother of “El Eme”, a woman named Neila Palomino, had also taken part, as she was in charge of acquiring the cell phones used in the criminal operation, which were returned once the deed was done.

The source indicated that “El Colombia” was contracted for a large sum of money by another Colombian, linked to Colombian paramilitary gangs. His capture is considered key by the authorities.

According to the source, the group had been contracted to commit the crime against the deputy and the planning of the assassination took place in Caracas more than two months before. There arose the need to buy off one of Serra’s bodyguards and that is when they managed to contact Edwin Torres Camacho, known as “El Poli”, who facilitated for them all movements within the home, the parliamentarian’s routines, the exact location of the rooms, and how to enter. As well as furnishing them with all the information, the day of the crime, Torres was the person in charge of opening the door to the house and letting in the rest of the five criminals.

Torres Camacho, who at the time of the crime was an active functionary of the Caracas police, was at Serra’s wake, attended the entire funeral and even participated in the murdered politician’s honor guard at the National Assembly. He was interrogated on a Saturday night at the CICPC [criminal-investigative federal police] headquarters, after Serra’s burial, along with all the persons who comprised the inner circle of the deceased (bodyguards, assistants and some family members), and later was detained by the SEBIN [Bolivarian Intelligence Service] in the residences of the Housing Mission beside the Los Leones bridge, in the La Paz suburb.

They committed the crime. Six days before the double murder, several of the criminals were on site to corroborate and verify the entire zone, the escape routes, and the means of entering the home.

The day of the crime, Serra was in a political meeting, and that night, when he returned home, he called his brother and invited him to dinner, since María Herrera was cooking.

Almost immediately, the criminals arrived at the deputy’s residence in La Pastora, in a red Ford pickup truck and on a motorcycle.

When the criminals entered the home, they overpowered, bound and gagged the victims before killing them. All of this took place between five and six minutes. “They went directly to kill him,” said president Nicolás Maduro, after showing a video in which one could see the entry and exit of the criminals.

The assassins stole a watch from the deputy, and carried off a computer, maybe thinking that all the closed-circuit TV recordings [from the security cameras] were stored in it. There were other objects of value in the house, such as cellphones, laptops, an iPad, and tablets, which were not removed by the criminals.

When they left, there was a problem, because the keys to the motorbike were not there. Torres Camacho related, in a video shown by the president, that they went three blocks with the motorbike turned off, and later abandoned it and exited the area in a taxi.

Translation mine.

Jesus H. Christ. Imagine being so cold-blooded a contract killer that you’d even take your own young son along to help you overpower, tie up, gag and then stab two good, innocent people to death. Even the Mafia could take lessons in sheer gruesomeness from the Colombian paracos.

And the sheer amount of planning and premeditation needed to commit so grisly a crime in so short a time span is remarkable, too. Two months, or more, just to buy off a police bodyguard, and familiarize themselves with the house and the neighborhood. Little wonder that it only took them five or six minutes, from entry to exit. That’s the mark of professional killers, hired by somebody with an awful lot of motive and means. This was not a botched armed robbery, in other words.

Who hired them? Robert Serra knew who the likely culprits were; he even called them out by name not long before he was murdered. The Venezuelan federal authorities undoubtedly know who they are, too. Several of them are in custody; others are on the run. And they are running scared.

And the fact that they have ties to Colombia can only mean one thing: that El Narco Uribe himself was, and still is, a key player in the plot to balkanize and subdue Venezuela, starting with its westernmost states, which border on Colombia and see a lot of spillover of military and paramilitary anti-guerrilla crime from there. After all, paramilitarism flourished on his watch, as part of his scheme to destroy the FARC. How it must gall him to know that he is out of office, for good, while they are still alive and operating without missing a beat!

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Posted in Cops Behaving Badly, El NarcoPresidente, Fascism Without Swastikas, Filthy Stinking Rich, Fine Young Cannibals, Huguito Chavecito, Isn't That Illegal?, Sick Frickin' Bastards. Comments Off on “El Colombia”, assassin of Robert Serra, extradited to Venezuela »

New putschist plans surface in Venezuela

Oho, what’s this? Another putschist conspiracy in Venezuela? ¡Por supuesto! And this little conversation between two big pieces of shit was captured in none other than the jailhouse where the two are currently cooling their heels. Here are the details of what’s being said, courtesy Contrainjerencia:

On Monday, exclusive audio was broadcast in which a conversation between the far-right-wing politician, Leopoldo López, and the former mayor of San Cristóbal, Táchira, Daniel Ceballos, was revealed. The two were making plans to destabilize Venezuela, similar to the violent acts of early 2014, from their respective cells in the Ramo Verde jail in Caracas.

The recording was presented on VTV’s “Cayendo y Corriendo”, hosted by Miguel Pérez Pirela. It reveals step by step the strategy by López and Ceballos to foment new acts of violence with the objective of “turning the country around”.

In the recording, one can hear López calling for a street demonstration on next Saturday, May 30. “Lots of kids are going to throw [a demonstration],” he said, meaning he is ordering young people out as cannon fodder.

Later Ceballos can be heard planning to pitch camps in front of the United Nations office in Venezuela, in order to obtain “some kind of impact” in the National Electoral Council (CNE).

Later, both can be heard plotting how to make “viral” the new protest in the right-wing news media, and proposing to “buy time” by staging a hunger strike of five to ten days.

“We have to figure out where we’re going to put the beasts,” that is, the paramilitaries from Colombia who are already in country, say Ceballos and López during the conversation.

Leopoldo López has been in Ramo Verde prison since February 2014, after handing himself in to the authorities days after promoting and inciting the vandalism and guarimba violence that left 43 dead, with the intent of deposing the legitimate president, Nicolás Maduro.

[…]

In March, members of the Committee of Victims of the Guarimba met with the High Commission of the United Nations for Human Rights, Zed Raad Hussein, and fingered Leopoldo López and other opposition leaders as responsible for the violence that took place in 2014, leaving more than 600 injured and 43 dead.

Ceballos, for his part, went to prison for supporting the violence in the city of San Cristóbal, a locality designated by the right-wing as a bastion to initiate destabilization.

A few days ago, the People’s Ombud of Venezuela, Tarek William Saab, stated in a special interview with Telesur that the opposition is seeking to demolish the democratic institutions of the land, with threats of new demonstrations over the supposed “violation of the rights of López and Ceballos”.

Saab made the statement following the broadcast of video recorded by Leopoldo López, in which López makes a call for violence and announces a hunger strike along with the ex-mayor of San Cristóbal, Daniel Ceballos.

Translation mine.

Well, how do you like that? Prettyboy Leo (who, by now, is showing his age and thus, not such a pretty boy anymore) has decided to pay back Madurito for saving his miserable, no-good life…by trying to kill him all over again. And his ol’ buddy Ceballos, who brought Colombian paramilitaries in through the border state of Táchira and let them terrorize his own city, San Cristóbal, is in on it too.

So, kiddies, long story short: If you see anything about “pro-democracy” demos in Venezuela in the next few days, don’t believe a word of it. They’re not demonstrating for democracy, but against it. As usual. Because the Venezuelan opposition are sore losers for whom democracy means nothing. They showed as much in 2002, when they tried and failed to dislodge the democratically elected (and hugely popular) Chavecito. They did so again last year, trying and failing to dislodge the also-democratically-elected (and also popular) Nicolás Maduro. They did it in October of last year, too, when they brought in Colombian paramilitaries to murder the popular, democratically elected young parliamentarian, Robert Serra of the PSUV. And they’ve got more Colombians in country now, posing as Venezuelans in order to destroy Venezuelans. They fully intend to keep on trying to destroy democracy in Venezuela.

They don’t have a democratic bone in their bodies.

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