Amazon Pulls Child Sex Dolls Following Complaints

Amazon UK has pulled child sex dolls from their online storefront after widespread complaints from a watchdog group and others in Britain over concerns that pedophiles may use them as a “gateway doll” which would lead to the sexual abuse of children.

Over a dozen child sex dolls were removed in all, having been listed by third-party sellers. 

“All Marketplace sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account,” said an Amazon spokesman in a statement. “The products in question are no longer available.”

Amazon does not sell the products itself but instead receives money from the sellers.

Dolls found on the website were typically three or four feet tall with waist sizes around 16 inches (41cm).

In the accompanying pictures they were placed in sexual poses with descriptions such as “Mannequin Sexy” and “100% mimics girl’s body”.

Several dolls were described as coming with “sexy lingerie”.

A couple from Durham were horrified to find that a child sex doll came up in the results for their online search for sex toys.

“We felt disgusted and we straight away reported it to Amazon,” they told the BBC.

Twenty four hours later the couple had received no response from the retailer. –BBC

UK authorities want to know how the dolls were allowed on Amazon’s platform in the first place.

England’s Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, said that Amazon needs to explain what happened (Too bad the Children’s Commissioner wasn’t around during Jimmy Savile’s reign of pedophilic terror, or while former PM Sir Edward Heath was abusing children for decades, – which we’re isn’t going on today of course).

Last year, a judge at Canterbury Crown Court dismissed ex-primary school governor David Turner’s argument that a child sex doll he imported was not obscene. Turner, a former churchwarden, pleaded guilty last July to importing the child sex doll.

Responding to a BBC investigation, Anne Longfield, England Children’s Commissioner, said: “These dolls are disgusting and are clearly meant to look like children.

“Not only do I, as Children’s Commissioner, but the wider public also, have a right to expect a huge company like Amazon, to not only remove these products from their platform, but to explain why they are on there in the first place and ensure they can’t just be reloaded having been taken down.”

Such dolls are clearly built for one purpose and that purpose is a clear danger to the safety of real children,” she added.

Ms Stewart said the dolls were unlike those people might associate with stag dos and were the precursor to more sophisticated child sex robots, which she warned were “just around the corner”.

“They are the weight of a seven-year-old child, they are not something that is the traditional blow-up doll, she said.

“(They are) very, very different – very, very more accurate anatomically.”

The dolls, with their unnerving glass-eye stare, false eyelashes and crooked fingers and toes, often come packaged with accessories including a choice of wigs, a USB device to warm the spongy silicone skin, and a cleaning device. –independent.co.uk

The UK has seized 179 child-like sex dolls since March of 2016 as part of Operation Shiraz – an operation set up in conjunction with the National Crime Agency. Last July, a judge ruled that child sex dolls were obscene, and therefore covered under the 1979 Customs and Excise Management Act. That said, it is not a criminal offense to manufacture or own a child sex doll – just to import them.

The dolls are designed to be as lifelike as possible – made of silicone type material and weighing as much as a child, and made in such a way as to enable sexual acts to be performed on them. 

NPSCC head Almudena Lara told the BBC “We already know that there is a risk that people using these dolls could become desensitised and their behaviour could become normalised to them, so that they go on to harm children, as is often the case with those who view indecent images of children online.

There is absolutely no evidence that using the dolls stops potential abusers from abusing children.”

The US Fading Into Irrelevance – A Good Thing For The World?

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Chaos reigns in the United States, spreading to its closest allies. The war amongst Western elites is in full swing, manifesting itself from commercial wars to failed diplomacy, empty threats of war, corruption, and announced military withdrawals and attacks.

To sum up the last few weeks of international events, it is worth comparing the direction taken by the multipolar troika of Russia, China and Iran, and the one taken by the fading unipolar order led by the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

We can analyze the respective changes taking place within the unipolar and multipolar camps, especially in the economic, commercial, diplomatic and military fields.

The introduction by the US of duties on imports, applied to 1,300 products, including iron and aluminum, has triggered a chain of events, including the imposition of as many duties on various products exported by the US to China. The pressure on America’s European allies continues, against the protests of France and Germany. It seems that Europe is struggling to form a common front on many issues relating from foreign policy to trade. The Western elites continue its in-fighting, between the European Union (led by Berlin and Paris) and the UK and the US, clashing over agreements between London and Brussels and Washington and Brussels. The Trump tariff war aims to deliver a blow to America’s opponents, but it risks provoking strong responses, even from allies. Moreover, many analysts and economists have warned that this form of commercial warfare risks harming American workers the most.

A divided Europe finds itself dealing with an ever-increasing need to justify its defense and security package. The British, thanks to the artificial Russian threat – characterized by fake chemical attacks, hypothetical invasions of the Baltic countries, and the situation in Ukraine – continue to sustain an environment in which Europeans seek the protection of NATO, which includes Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Looking at this critically, the intent of Berlin, Paris, and especially London and Washington, is evidently to justify increased military spending to counter an alleged threat emanating from Moscow. All this comes down to increased sales of British, German, French and, above all, American weapons to NATO and EU countries. This only serves to continue the flow of money into the coffers of the elite, thanks to artificial tensions like the one generated between Russia and the UK over the poisoning of the former Russian spy in England.

If the unipolar world seems to have thrown to the wind the concept of diplomacy and adherence to international norms – with a flurry of expulsions of diplomats, false accusations, one-sided motions in the UN’s Security Council, and ignoring the basic rules of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – in Asia, on the other side of the globe, diplomacy continues to bear fruit. Xi Jinping just met with Kim Jong-un, in the first of a series of meetings that could bring the North Korean leader to an initial meeting with Moon Jae-in, and later with Putin. We have heard from Washington only bellicose rhetoric directed against Pyongyang, even within the confines of the United Nations. In line with the ideological attitude of American exceptionalism, the American establishment appreciates Trump’s threats, but is quite naturally less enamored with the announcement of a meeting between the American president and the North Korean leader. According to America’s traditional ideology, no negotiations are to be entered into with geopolitical opponents and peer competitors, for the simple reason that Washington is not willing to negotiate or make any concession on any matter; the only way it knows how to engage in international relations is to impose its will by any means possible. In Syria, the example is clear, where indirect or direct military force has failed to remove Assad, and now Washington finds itself isolated, mainly diplomatically, with the Geneva II Conference on Syria now replaced by the agreement reached in Sochi, from which the United States excluded itself on account of not enjoying a leading position, thereby conceding this role to Ankara, Tehran and Moscow. This is a good example of how the Western elite’s strategic attempt to overthrow Assad and partition Syria has ran into the military reality on the ground, which includes the strength of alliances (especially between Iran, Russia and China), and the willingness of Moscow and Tehran to resolve the Syrian crisis by military and diplomatic means.

In economic terms, the revolution the petro-yuan represents becomes more and more real, this new medium of exchange set to sooner or later involve Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, with China as its largest buyer. The Western elites will try to oppose by any means possible such an arrangement, given that the petrodollar is the basis American military power. But it is an inevitable process, which must necessarily be backed up with a military component in order to discourage the United States from behaving recklessly. Iraq and other countries have been on the receiving end of America’s imposition of its petrodollar hegemony militarily. For this and other reasons, mainly related to US ABM systems placed all around Russian borders, Putin has had to resort to a very public demonstration of the Russian Federation’s means of deterrence, advertising the existence of the country’s new hypersonic weapons.

As demonstrated by the recent meeting between the defense ministers of Russia and China, the multipolar strategy is now wide-ranging, relegating Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh to further digging themselves into the hole they have already dug themselves into (see recent events in Syria with Israel launching 8 missiles and Trump beating the drums of war). As General Wei Fenghe stated, “We came to Moscow to let the Americans know about the close military ties between the armed forces of China and Russia.” When these two military and economic powers unite their efforts, involving regional powers and mediating over various conflicts, it becomes clear that the challenge to Washington’s hegemony is progressively leading away from an international reality consisting of one superpower to one consisting of three to four powers that maintain an international balance via diplomatic, economic and military means.

The phase in which we currently live is turbulent and is essentially caused by a single factor that has two very strong thrusts.

The acceleration of the dwindling of the unipolar phase is directly connected with the strategic and tactical errors of the American deep state and its main sponsors, like Israel and Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, the opposing push comes from the multipolar environment, which tends to consolidate its sphere of influence via diplomatic and military means. The goal for Moscow and Beijing is to present to the American and European elites a viable alternative that is shared among several actors. For the time being, the Euro-Atlantic establishment continues to consider itself capable of changing the course of events and preventing the drift towards multipolarity.

Whether the Western oligarchy is a victim to its own propaganda or whether it simply wishes to avoid facing reality and is using every means available to postpone an epochal change, is difficult to determine; and this makes the future uncertain, and is therefore highly dangerous.

Increase In US Exports Rendering Once Crucial Cushing Data Irrelevant

Houston is quickly becoming the new benchmark for oil, while Cushing is losing its relevance to the industry.

Cushing wasn’t just relevant to the industry for storage purposes, but also for sector wide data purposes. According to Reuters, it “got its distinction in the early 1920s when tanks sprung up to store oil en route from Oklahoma and Texas to major metropolitan areas and refineries in the Midwest. In 1983, it became the delivery point for the newly-launched WTI futures contract CLc1.”

For years, Cushing oil inventories were a staple for any business, trader or entity that dealt in the commodity, not to mention those who actively traded it on a daily basis. Cushing inventories were once the key indicator the the supply of crude oil held in the United States. These are the Cushing storage tanks in Cushing, OK:

(Photo: Reuters)

Decades ago, Cushing was seen as a fairly easy way to measure oil supply because the United States was not exporting any oil, but rather only importing it. This made it a novel and effective idea to have one major storage point to reference when trying to help gauge the amount of supply the United States had, which could quickly be used by traders and those in the industry to help with price discovery on oil futures contracts.

Just as the trading market for oil futures has evolved, replacing open outcry with computers, so has the efficiency and method with which we collect oil inventory data. Cushing seems to be “slowly going the way of the buffalo“ while focus turns further south. Reuters reported about Cushing’s storage this morning:

But those tanks could soon drain to levels near effectively empty, even as U.S. oil production soars past a new record of 10.4 million barrels per day.

Oil supplies have fallen before in Cushing for a variety of seasonal or market-driven reasons. But this time, there is no shortage of crude in the market. In fact, U.S. production is straining pipeline and storage capacity.

The declining volumes stored at Cushing reflects a more permanent shift, underscoring the hub’s waning influence as the primary measuring stick for the U.S. oil market and the leading barometer of future supply, demand and prices.

Things have changed in the industry over the years. Nowadays are oil exports play as big of a role as our imports and, with that, our infrastructure needs have vastly shifted.

The most obvious change in our infrastructure needs naturally and organically pushes focus toward port cities like Houston to be better indicators of oil activity coming both in and out of the United States. To arrive at spot prices, traders need to have a full grasp on what is now a much more dynamic oil inventory situation that it was decades ago. For this purpose, Houston is now the area most traders are focusing on and want to replace Cushing as a gauge for the oil market in the United States. The article continues:

Instead, producers are increasingly shipping directly to seaports such as Houston, where vessels carry the oil to dozens of countries worldwide. That reflects a major transformation in global crude flows since the United States lifted a four-decade ban on oil exports in late 2015. Some traders and buyers argue the benchmark needs to change to reflect this.

Joshua Wade, a crude oil marketer in Oklahoma, sees the benchmark delivery point moving south before long.

“That’s the direction it’s moving,” he said. “As opposed to importing, now you’re exporting through the same infrastructure … The oil capital of the nation is in Houston.”

Although it ends decades of focus on the Cushing area for the oil industry, this move toward establishing a new focus on Houston is commensurate with an oil market that has changed significantly over the last several decades. In addition, new pipelines are being built and are expected to come online over the next 2 years, as the country’s oil infrastructure continues to evolve to meet the needs of both importing and exporting. 

Cushing’s future may not be completely bust, however – it could simply wind up as off-shore gulf storage, or a to act as a back up, rather than a primary storage site:

A spokesman for Magellan Midstream Partners, which owns about 12 million barrels of Cushing storage, said it will remain important because of its connections to the Gulf and Midwest.

Cushing is also connected via pipeline to the Gulf, 500 miles to the south, and can offer cheaper storage than what’s available on the coast, said SemGroup’s Conner.

“I believe Cushing’s next chapter,” he said, “is that it’s going to become an offsite Gulf Coast storage center.”

But Cushing’s relevance seems to be on the way out, as least as a crucial data point for the industry. Just as markets “evolve”, so do their data points and methods for collecting crucial sector wide data. Now, if we could only get the Fed to do the same with the way it measures CPI.