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SHAKING HANDS WITH MR PORN

07-08-2007

As Chris Langham awaits sentencing for downloading graphic images of children, Stirrer webmaster Andy Goff suggests he needs treatment, not jail. And he wonders who else should pay the price for Langham's crime.

Award-winning actor and satirist Chris Langham is about to pay a heavy price – a lengthy jail sentence probably – for regularly downloading child pornography from the internet - some of it, according to police, of the most gross kind.

Langham was snared by Operation Ore, the UK police end of a "sting" operation by the FBI in America to track down and prosecute internet viewers of child pornography.

On one level, Operation Ore has been hugely successful, not to mention clever. On another, it is a woeful, tragic failure.

For if the sting can net people like Langham, a long way down the sickening line that starts with an innocent child being abused, how is it that the FBI has apparently failed to nail the worst perpetrators – the physical abusers and those who post these vile images on the net in the first place?

I don't know the answer, because I have no knowledge of how these things work. I can, however, offer some insight into the question of why the internet peddling of child pornography is, apparently, so out of control – and why it shouldn't be.

I was, in a previous life, a travel agent. In order to accept credit and debit cards as a form of payment, my company had to apply for the facility through a bank.

The said bank sent out a bloke in a suit to check us over. We were required to fill in forms and provide credit references. We had to agree to pay the card company the 45p per debit card transaction and about 1.7 per cent on credit card transactions.

So in all paid-for internet pornography viewing, there is a bank involved. This means that at some point a bloke in a suit must have visited Mr Porn, asked him to fill in a form, requested credit references, bank details and details of his line of business.

Mr Banker would then have agreed a rate of commission with Mr Porn and then left him to it.

But surely the bankers who took money from credit card transactions and then paid it to the pornographers, after taking their cut, are as culpable as the producers and viewers?

It is all too easy for the authorities to make scapegoats out of celebrities such as Chris Langham and Pete Townshend, of The Who fame, while purporting to be cracking down on the hideous industry that is child pornography.

If Operation Ore was really effective, it would be taking out the dastardly people who commit these unspeakable crimes against children rather than those who view the images on the internet.

Chris Langham appears to have a perverted sexual interest in children. If so, he needs treatment, not jail. And while the vile perpetrators and quiescent profiteering banks escape justice, it seems that the person who did the least harm suffers the most punishment because they are the easy target.

The banking industry is as culpable as the those that create, host and view this stuff but I guess, as porn is the most profitable content on the internet, not many authorities will dare to upset the bankers - just the wankers!

Does Chris Langham need treatment, not jail? And who should pay the price for creating child porn on the internet? Leave a comment on the Message Board.

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