Quietly Fighting The War On Child Pornography

NBC News is reporting today that federal agents have shut down the world’s “largest dark web child porn marketplace.”

The article reports:

The now-shuttered English-language site, called “Welcome to Video,” contained more than 200,000 unique videos or almost 8 terabytes of data showing sex acts involving children, toddlers and infants, according to the 18-page criminal indictment unsealed here Wednesday, and processed 7,300 Bitcoin transactions worth more than $730,000.

According to prosecutors, the vast online store was run by Jong Woo Son, a South Korean citizen currently serving an 18-month prison sentence in his home country after his conviction on charges related to child pornography. The site operated from June 2015 until it was seized and shut down by U.S. authorities in March 2018.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, U.S. officials said 337 suspected users of the site had been arrested worldwide to date.

…In addition to Son, more than 300 other suspects have been arrested in South Korea as of Wednesday, while still more suspects were identified in other countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, including a Washington, D.C., man who was caught with the equivalent of 50 years worth of video footage he had downloaded.

The website ran solely on the dark web, a section of the internet that can only be accessed via a Tor browser, which is designed to protect users’ tracks online and obscure digital footprints. Users could purchase videos using cryptocurrency and an annual membership was priced at 0.03 bitcoins (at current exchange rates, around $300).

The article concludes:

When they announced the arrest of “Mr. A” in 2018, the South Korean police also said they had arrested a total of 156 South Koreans for either uploading or downloading child porn materials, which was unusual given that the site operated entirely in English.

“Most of the users were in their 20s, unmarried and white-collar office workers and first-time offenders, although some were ex-convicts of sexual crimes, including juvenile sex offenders. One possessed as many as 48,634 child porn [files],” the KNPA said.

Paul Henkins, head of the Americas region for the U.K.’s National Crime Agency, said at the Wednesday press conference that 18 investigations of alleged site users had yielded seven convictions, with one defendant sentenced to 22 years.

The case, Henkins said, demonstrates the “increase in the scale, severity and complexity of child sexual abuse offending.”

Hopefully the people arrested will spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Some Disturbing Thoughts On The Jeffrey Epstein Case

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review about the Jeffrey Epstein case. Andrew McCarthy is the former Chief Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York who led the terrorism prosecution against the “Blind Sheikh” (Omar Abdel Rahman) and eleven other jihadists for conducting a war of urban terrorism against the United States that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. He served as a prosecutor for 20 years. He has testified before Congress as an expert on issues of constitutional law, counterterrorism, and law-enforcement.

Below are some of his observations about the case against Jeffrey Epstein:

On Monday, Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that his office has now charged Epstein. While the SDNY indictment may be new, Epstein’s crimes are not. They are the same offenses from which Acosta agreed to spare Epstein from federal prosecution if he pled guilty to state prostitution charges — which Epstein proceeded to do, in reliance on Acosta’s commitment. There is thus a very good chance, based on the Constitution’s guarantee against double jeopardy, that the SDNY case against Epstein will be voided by the SD-Florida non-prosecution agreement (non-pros).

To be sure, the SDNY has a counterargument, and it will be vigorously made. It has two components. First, there is language in the non-pros that appears to limit the agreement to SD-Florida, to wit: “prosecution in this District for these offenses shall be deferred in favor of prosecution by the State of Florida” (emphasis added). Here, “deferred” effectively means forfeited — the same effect for double-jeopardy purposes as a conviction or acquittal — because of Epstein’s compliance with the requirement that he plead guilty in the state case. Second, there is jurisprudence in the Second Circuit (which controls in the SDNY) holding that one federal district’s agreement does not bind another.

Therefore, prosecutors will argue that the 2007 SD-Florida non-pros does not bar a 2019 SDNY indictment arising out of the same conduct and charging the same offenses.

I’m skeptical . . . and I think the SDNY is, too, notwithstanding the brave face prosecutors put on this week. They have carefully drafted an indictment far narrower than the SD-Florida’s contemplated case. If prosecutors really believed that there was no double-jeopardy problem, they’d have no such hesitation: They’d throw everything the FBI ever had at this sociopath. They know they are on thin ice.

Mr. McCarthy’s evaluation of the situation is not encouraging. I hope he is wrong, but his history and knowledge suggest he is probably right.

Please read the entire article to see the full argument. It would be a shame if this sleazeball escaped justice twice. I know he is innocent until proven guilty, but he has already been proven guilty–he just didn’t have to pay any real price for his horrific behavior.

 

The Wheels Of Justice Sometimes Turn Very Slowly

Yesterday The Washington Post reported the following:

The FBI on Wednesday arrested two former senior officials who served in administration of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, leading the chair of the House committee that oversees Puerto Rico to call for the governor to step down.

The arrests also spurred concerns on Capitol Hill about the billions of dollars in aid that Congress has approved for the island.

The federal indictment says the former officials illegally directed federal funding to politically-connected contractors. The arrests come about a month after Congress approved a controversial disaster aid bill that earmarked additional funding for Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria in 2017, which were tied up in part because President Trump called Puerto Rico’s officials “incompetent or corrupt.”

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the Natural Resource Committee that oversees Puerto Rico, called on Rosselló to resign amid the ongoing federal investigation.

The article concludes:

The arrests come as senior White House officials are searching for new ways to limit the amount of federal aid going to help Puerto Rico, and the island’s allies fear the arrests will give Trump greater justification for curtailing additional aid to the island.

“The governor of Puerto Rico and his administration have now given President Trump the ammunition he needed,” said San Juan Mayor Yulin Cruz, a political opponent of the governor.

I really think we need to make sure that any additional aid given to Puerto Rico will be properly administered and distributed. It appears that they have a corruption problem, and there is no way of knowing whether or not it has been solved. Unfortunately, it will be the people who need to help the most who will suffer the most because of the corruption.

Foreign Interference In An Election

If you follow the mainstream media, you might conclude that foreign interference in an election only matters when Republicans do it.

Meanwhile, BizPacReview reported yesterday that Pras Michel, a rapper for the group ‘The Fugees,’ has been indicted by the U.S. government for funneling millions of dollars of foreign money to Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.

The article explains the charges:

In a DOJ statement, the feds announced Michel and a Malaysian financier were charged with four counts “for conspiring to make and conceal foreign and conduit campaign contributions.”

Michel, 46, and Low Taek Jho, 37, aka”Jho Low,” were charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and for making foreign and conduit campaign contributions. Michel also was charged with one count of a scheme to conceal material facts and two counts of making a false entry in a record in connection with the conspiracy.

The article includes a statement from the Department of Justice:

According to the indictment, between June 2012 and November 2012, Low directed the transfer of approximately $21,600,000 from foreign entities and accounts to Michel for the purpose of funneling significant sums of money into the United States presidential election as purportedly legitimate contributions, all while concealing the true source of the money.  To facilitate the excessive contributions and conceal their true source, Michel paid approximately $865,000 of the money received from Low to about 20 straw donors, or conduits, so that the straw donors could make donations in their names to a presidential joint fundraising committee.  In addition, Michel personally directed more than $1 million of the money received from Low to an independent expenditure committee also involved in the presidential election in 2012.

The indictment also alleges that by funneling campaign contributions through straw donors, Michel caused a presidential joint fundraising committee to submit false reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), including a false amended report in June 2013.  The committee’s reports were false because they identified the straw donors, rather than Low or Michel, as the true source of the contributions.  In addition, the indictment alleges that by contributing more than $1 million of the money he received from Low to an independent expenditure committee, Michel also caused that committee to submit false reports to the FEC, insofar as those reports identified Michel as the source of the contributions when, in fact, it was Low.  The indictment further alleges that in June 2015, Michel submitted a false declaration to the FEC in which he claimed that he had no reason to conceal the true source of his contributions to the independent expenditure committee in 2012, even though Michel knew that the true source of that money was Low and that Michel had funneled the foreign money into the election.

It is good news that the Department of Justice is holding Mr. Michel accountable.

Still Playing The Game

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday that explains why many people are moving away from Google as a search engine. Other than the fact that Google tracks your searches (DuckDuckGo.com does not), Google is not an unbiased search engine. It has a political agenda despite claims to the contrary.

The news of the day Friday was that there would be no further indictments in the Mueller investigation. If you went looking for that news on Google, it would not be immediately obvious.

The article illustrates:

Using Google search on multiple browsers and on private-browsing mode, the Free Beacon found Google search had an aversion to the search term “indictment.”

Using either “Trump” or “Mueller” as the subject, the following word “indictment” was not suggested even after spelling out most of it. For example, putting “Trump indi” into Google’s search bar does not lead to “Trump indictment” but rather to “Trump India,” “Trump India Pakistan,” Trump India tariffs,” and “Trump Indiana.”

Seems like Google might have overlooked the obvious. When “Mueller ind” was entered, the results were similar. The article also includes screenshots of Yahoo and Bing when the letters “Trump ind” and “Mueller ind” were entered. The first entries that came up were “Trump indictment” and “Mueller indictments”.

The article concludes:

Google was previously accused of pushing positive stories about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has denied this kind of bias occurs in its search results, saying so repeatedly in a congressional hearing last year. Democrats, however, seemed to undermine Pichai’s message by arguing in that hearing that Google is free to suppress conservatives in its search results if it so desires. Pichai said such suppression of different views would violate the company’s “core principles,” although an executive was caught emailing about making sure Google services helped Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The company’s fidelity to principles of free expression has also come under scrutiny as it has continued to work with Xi Jinping’s autocratic regime in China. Because of severe free speech restrictions in that country, Google had been developing a special search engine “Dragonfly” that would block topics disapproved by the regime, including history about China and the Communist Party. Dragonfly was put on hold after it spawned an outcry against Google, but employees have expressed concern that it’s being developed in secret.

Domestically, the Silicon Valley giant is also dealing with pressure to have its products more strictly regulated. Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren (D.) has called for breaking up major tech companies on anti-trust grounds.

On a somewhat related personal note, when I began this blog in 2008, Facebook was a good source of articles posted by conservative friends and conservative sources. Blogging was very easy. That has changed in recent years–many friends have spent time in Facebook jail, and many conservative sources have been blocked. Social media in its freest state is a wonderful thing, but gradually those in charge of social media have been removing our freedom. All Americans need to be vigilant about what they read on social media and also about what search engine they use. That is sad, but necessary.

 

 

Voting Problems In Texas

Yesterday The Star-Telegram in Fort Worth reported the following:

A Fort Worth woman recently indicted on voter fraud charges paid others involved in the scheme with funds provided by a former Tarrant County Democratic Party leader, court documents filed this week say.

After learning about a state investigation, Leticia Sanchez — one of four women arrested and indicted on voter fraud charges — allegedly directed her daughter to send a text message to others in the scheme, urging them not to cooperate with investigators, state officials say.

The allegations are made in the state’s notice of intent to introduce evidence in Sanchez’s criminal case, where state officials say she was among those who collaborated to vote for certain down-ballot candidates with a number of north side residents’ mail-in ballots.

The notice, filed Tuesday, states that Sanchez engaged in organized criminal activity in collaboration with her three co-defendants; Stuart Clegg, a former executive director for the Tarrant County Democratic Party; and others.

The article reports that the voter fraud included illegally obtained mail-in ballots Forged signatures were also used on absentee ballots and mail in ballots.

The article continues:

Earlier this month, four women were arrested — Sanchez, her daughter, Leticia Sanchez Tepichin, and Rosa Solis and Laura Parra — after being indicted on more than two dozen felony counts of voter fraud.

Officials allege the women were paid to target older voters on the city’s north side “in a scheme to generate a large number of mail ballots and then harvest those ballots for specific candidates in 2016.”

The notice did not specify which candidates the suspects were allegedly paid to support, but it noted that Sanchez and others marked down-ballot candidates “without the voter’s knowledge or consent.”

AG officials have said these charges “are in connection with the 2016 Democratic primary, but the case has connections with the 2015 city council election.”

AG spokesman Jeff Hillery declined to comment when asked if any other charges would be filed.

This development comes as early voting for the Nov. 6 midterm election is underway. Voters may vote early through Nov. 2. Election Day is Nov. 6.

The article suggests that the arrest and indictment of Ms. Sanchez may be a political move because it occurred right before the election, but it seems to me that the time to find and deal with voter fraud issues is before the election. People need to know that there are consequences for committing voter fraud.

A report from The Star-Telegram today warns voters to check the voting machines carefully before recording their votes.

The article reports:

Texas voters: Take your time when casting ballots.

This advice comes as state election officials receive complaints across the state from early voters casting straight tickets on Hart eSlate machines who believe the machines changed their votes.

Two complaints, reported through a third party, have been made in Tarrant County, said Heider Garcia, elections administrator.

“We have … tested everything,” he said. “We don’t have any indication that there’s a technical issue.”

The Texas Secretary of State’s Office has issued a statement about the issue.

The article cites one example:

Evelyn Brown, a 63-year-old longtime Fort Worth voter, said she had a problem voting this week.

She had gone to the Southwest Community Center on Welch Avenue and had cast a straight party ticket.

When she reviewed the summary, she saw that her choice in the U.S. Senate race — which pits Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz against Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke — had flipped to the candidate in the other party.

She spent seven or eight minutes trying to move back to change the candidate in that race, but wasn’t successful.

“I’m accustomed to using the booth,” she said. “I used the keys that let you move forward and back. It didn’t move at all. It was stuck.”

So she called the election judge over who ended up calling the Tarrant County Elections Office.

In the end, the election judge had to at least temporarily put that machine out of service. He moved Brown to a different machine, where she said she was able to cast a vote for all the candidates of her choice.

Vote carefully, Your country depends on it.

An Investigation That Has Lost Its Way

Ideally for the political types in the FBI and DOJ, the investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election has to last until November of this year. (Please note that the FBI and DOJ are not supposed to be staffed by political types, but the email exchanges that have been revealed indicate otherwise.) Preferably some earthshaking statement of evidence will magically surface just days before the election. Yes, I admit I am being cynical, but have you seen anything that indicates that is not the plan? Further evidence of the mendacity of the Mueller crew arrived today.

The Daily Caller is reporting today:

Special counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing Friday that his prosecutors will not present evidence regarding Trump campaign collusion with Russia at an upcoming trial for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

“The government does not intend to present at trial evidence or argument concerning collusion with the Russian government,” reads a filing submitted by Mueller’s team in federal court in Virginia on Friday.

The filing sheds light on one of the largest questions looming over the Manafort case. Mueller’s prosecutors have indicted Manafort in federal court in Virginia and Washington, D.C., on a slew of charges related to his consulting work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Manafort ended the work in 2014, and it has been unclear whether Mueller’s team planned to reveal evidence about President Donald Trump or the campaign.

Isn’t that special. Mueller is a Special Prosecutor appointed (albeit under false pretenses) to investigate Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. He is putting one of the people he has accused in the investigation on trial. He will not present any evidence having to do with Russian collusion by the Trump campaign. So what in the world is he investigating? At what point did he leave his original assignment?

The article further reports:

Mueller has leaned heavily on Manafort since his indictments. Mueller used the witness tampering charge to revoke Manafort’s bail in June. Manafort is now being held in solitary confinement in a Virginia jail while he awaits trial.

I hope the first judge that hears this case throws the whole thing out. Mueller has put pressure on Manafort in the hopes that Manafort will make up anything about President Trump in order to be freed from this pressure. Nothing Manafort has been accused of has anything to do with the 2016 campaign. This is frankly disgusting. The behavior of Robert Mueller is more appropriate in a banana republic than it is in America.

Some Interesting News About The Planned Parenthood Videos

On April 6, I posted an article about the charges against David Daleiden who was indicted for making undercover videos of Planned Parenthood. Yesterday CBN News posted a follow-up story of this indictment. It seems that the District Attorney who prosecuted the case violated the instructions of the Texas Attorney General.

The article reports:

Last year, Daleiden released undercover footage through The Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue. CBN News has reported on the story extensively. 

Instead of finding the abortion giant guilty of criminal charges, the Harris County grand jury indicted the pro-life activist.  He was charged with tampering with government records and using fake identifications to purchase fetal tissue.

Daleiden posted bail last month in response to what his attorneys call bogus charges.

Daleiden’s indictment sparked public outcry from thousands in the pro-life community who argued that the undercover investigations were not criminal.

In the latest twist in the case, the Thomas More Society reports that the court records show Planned Parenthood attorney Josh Schaffer admitting under oath that the DA’s office shared documents and evidence with Planned Parenthood.

The Texas Attorney General had specifically asked the DA’s office not to share the videos with Planned Parenthood.

The article concludes:

“These filings also include evidence that appears to show that the DA’s office worked with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast to undermine the Texas Attorney General’s independent investigation of that abortion provider,” he continued. “The conduct of Harris County prosecutors in this case is outrageous and illegal. We look forward to pressing our motion to quash this indictment in court.”

According to LifeNews, this is the second time attorneys from Anderson’s office and Planned Parenthood were accused of working together.

Thomas More Society lawyers assert that the National Abortion Federation is fighting “to shut down free speech and to cover-up evidence of the abortion industry’s crimes in aborted baby parts trafficking.” 

The indictment of David Daleiden was a total miscarriage of justice. Hopefully it will be quashed.

Some Clarity On The Ferguson Grand Jury

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article in the National Review Online about the Grand Jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson.

Mr. McCarthy sums up the story as follows:

All very reasonable, but let’s not pretend reason has anything to do with what happened in Ferguson this week. In Liberal Fascism’s focus on myth, Jonah recalls Mussolini’s assertion, “It is faith that moves mountains, not reason. Reason is a tool, but it can never be the motive force of the crowd.” The crowd in Ferguson was moved to riot on the article of a false faith that condemns America and its police forces as incorrigibly racist. It is from this condemnation that all purported “reasoning” proceeds.

Such reasoning dictates that our constitutional right not to be indicted in the absence of just cause should be subordinated to the mob’s demand for a public trial. Succeeding in that legerdemain, it next dictates that our constitutional right not to be convicted in the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt be subordinated to the mob’s demand for a guilty verdict.

Such a verdict that would have had only the most tangential connection to the tragedy of an 18-year-old’s death or a police officer’s well-founded fear for his life. But it would have fed the myth.

The article reminds us that the American Left has fostered the myth that white policemen kill black teenagers. There is no reference to the amount of crime committed by black teenagers, we are simply supposed to buy the myth at face value–it is useful for manipulating crowds.

The article points out that the discussion of Grand Jury rules and procedures was irrelevant:

As it turns out, there was no need to thumb the legal treatises of Blackstone or Joseph Story. If you were going to hit the books, Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism would have served you better. Brilliantly illustrating modern liberalism’s roots in 20th-century progressivism — a movement as comfortable marching lockstep with Stalin as it was borrowing copiously from Mussolini — Jonah homes in on the centrality of myth. It is irrelevant whether an idea around which the Left’s avant-garde rouse the rabble is true; the point is the idea’s power to mold consciousness and rally the troops.

It is unfortunate that a young man is dead. It is also unfortunate that the young man chose to rob a store and attack a policeman. (The forensic evidence confirms the fact that Michael Brown did attack Darren Wilson.) However, it is also unfortunate that a good policeman has resigned the force and had his life negatively impacted by simply defending his own life.

The mob mentality here is right in line with Saul Alinsky‘s Rules for Radicals. The article explains:

Darren Wilson was a white cop and Michael Brown was a black teenager killed in a violent confrontation with Wilson. Therefore, Brown was the victim of a cold-blooded, racially motivated murder, Q.E.D. That is the myth, and it will be served — don’t bother us with the facts.

Once you’ve got that, none of the rest matters. In fact, at the hands of the left-leaning punditocracy, the rest was pure Alinsky: a coopting of language — in this instance, the argot of grand-jury procedure — to reason back to the ordained conclusion that “justice” demanded Wilson’s indictment for murder. And, of course, his ultimate conviction.

What the ‘protestors’ (thugs and criminals) gained from destroying their own city I don’t know. I wonder if the Nike sneakers were worth the fact that there will no longer be a place to buy sneakers in the town. Very few of the violent protestors were actually from the town, which tells us that this whole scenario was a planned show to manipulate the low-information voter by using the low-information media. The really sad part of this story was that innocent people had their businesses destroyed and their lives ruined by the actions of people driven by rage caused by misinformation they were given. They were played.