Posts from October 2001

Cops refuse to adequately investigate rape in Austin

Police in Austin prove they take sexual violence seriously by refusing to adequately investigate a rape report and pressing DWI charges against the complainant. After Virginia Glore specifically requested to have toxicology tests and DNA swabs performed to gather evidence that she had been given GHB and raped, the APD refused. Why? Because they did not believe that she had been raped and they thought she was trying to get out of the DWI charge. The Travis County attorney, Ken Oden, says She is raising the question of whether or not it was voluntary intoxication, which would be a defense if it can be proven in court … I don’t know what kind of proof would be brought forward. … But our job is to evaluate that evidence and our position is to look at each piece of evidence we can. Well, gee, not to be snide or anything, but all of this could have been determined if they had actually administered the toxicology screen when they were supposed to. The police finally took DNA swabs and photographed her injuries 11 days later, after Glore’s husband made a furious call to Internal Affairs, but by 11 days it was far too late to take the toxicology test that could have exonerated her on the DWI and slammed shut the case on the rape.

The police investigation also turned up two suspects based on the description given by the women. Both of them were convicted felons and one was a registered sex offender. The sex offender (Stefan Fiege) is still on the lam, and the other felon (Chris Turnrock) turned himself in. Turnrock gave a statement that they had been with the women that night, but that nothing had happened and he denied the alleged use of GHB. The police investigators decided that this was good enough to clear them of the charges. Proving that sensitivity on issues of sexual violence goes all the way to the top, APD Commander Duane McNeill puts it this way:

Everyone who says they were raped, weren’t [necessarily] raped, says McNeill. I know that one comes as a surprise. You know, things happen. Things like not getting home on time, or drinking and flirting, he said, are circumstances that might compel a person to fabricate a rape allegation. And in this case, McNeill insists, the APD investigators did a good job. I am perplexed by the outcry, he said. If ever there was a case that was done correct, it was this one.

They are still pressing the DWI charge against Glore. The callous, mean-spirited laziness of the police has deprived Virginia Glore of both the chance for justice in the rape case, and the chance to defend herself in the DWI case.

And people wonder why rape is underreported. Fuckers.

Women of Afghanistan Fight Back Against Both Taliban and Northern Alliance

Despite their continuing slide into uselessness, Salon has put out a very important article that you don’t need their premium service to access. Janelle Brown writes on the struggle of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) against the Taliban regime and their brutal gender apartheid. RAWA continually risks torture and execution defying the Taliban through underground girls’ schools within Afghanistan, videotape footage and photographs documenting Taliban atrocities to the outside world, and other direct action against the regime. Sadly, the United States is currently deciding to side with the thugs of the Northern Alliance – a mishmash of the old Mujahedeen and pro-Soviet thugs who blew Afghanistan to hell for two decades with their occupations and civil wars – rather than with RAWA. Last time we propped up the Mujahedeen, we got the blood-soaked mess that Afghanistan is in now; is it too much to ask that we learn from obvious mistakes within the past 10 years?

Take Action! Protest Sexual Slavery in the Philippines

Please sign this petition protesting the international sexual enslavement of women in the Philippines. Like many impoverished nations in Asia, the Philippines suffers from a brutal sex tourism industry controlled by international organized crime. It has been behind with innumerable rapes, abductions, and murders of women and girls. These concentration camps for women must be stopped; they are crimes against humanity.

For further reading:

  • GT 7/31/2001 US transnational mercenary corporation engages in trafficking of women
  • GT 5/17/2001 AP article reports on brutality of international trafficking in women
  • GT 6/30/2001 Detroit residents blame the victim, harass and intimidate women in prostituion
  • GT 4/22/2001 Vicious organization of pimps exposed in Atlanta

Salon makes itself more useless to web readers

Salon has continued its sad but predictable downward slide into uselessness for web readers by announcing that virtually all of its original News and Politics content would be published only under their US$30-per-year "Premium" edition. Personally-created web content, in the form of weblogs and so on, will continue to be strong, but as far as major publications go, this is yet more proof that free content on the web is dead.

But this subscription service deal is not the answer. Virtually all the major publishers tried this kind of subscription model about five years ago, and they gave up on it for good reason. The problem with subscription services is that they are useless to most web readers: unless you are an avid Salon reader, you’re not going to shell out $30-per-year to get access to their stories; and if you find a link off someone else’s site to a specific in-depth story that interests you, you can only get to it by paying $30 for a year’s worth of content you mostly don’t give a damn about. By setting up these kind of arbitrary, high-cost barriers to information, publications defeat the purpose of the World Wide Web, which is to let content providers link all over creation and give people access to the whole universe of information. When you put up a $30-per-year wall around your site, you cut up the Web into a bunch of isolated information fiefdoms that are useless to most web users.

Instead, we desperately need a good micropayment scheme for the Internet, which will let people pay a cent, or a hundredth of a cent, for an everyday page; or maybe a nickel or a dime for premium, high-cost content. Content providers will be able to make available individual items for whatever they think that they are worth, and adjust it according to what users will be willing to pay. Subscription services will be an unnecessary relic, and advertisers can be totally cut out of the deal (thank God). As of now, the only reason that content-providers cannot process micropayments is because online payment is controlled by credit cards (or credit-card processors such as PayPal and Amazon), which charge transaction fees that make it virtually impossible to sell anything for less than a dollar, and nobody wants to pay a dollar for each story on Salon. We’re going to need to get creative, and come up with new, transparent, usable, secure payment schemes, but once this is done, it will be so rewarding for the quality of content it will help produce and support that it will be hard to imagine what the web was like before it.

For further reading:

  • GT 6/9/2001 Feed and Suck go under
  • GT 3/23/2001 Salon announces death of free content on the web with the introduction of their for-pay premium service