Operation Auxin was an Australian police operation in September 2004, leading to the arrest of almost 200 people on charges of child pornography. These people were all accused of purchasing child pornography over the Internet, using their credit cards, from Belarusian crime syndicates, the credit card payments having been processed by a company named 'Landslide.com' in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Among the accused were people holding positions of trust in the community, such as police officers (including one police officer assigned to investigate child pornography), members of the military, teachers, and ministers of religion. Several of the suspects committed suicide. It was the follow up to the U.S. FBI operation Operation Falcon.
However despite Australian governmental officials' insistence that the operation was both a moral and legal success several controversies and pending legal actions make this claim dubious . Furthermore evidence has emerged that police and prosecutors may have denied suspects medical attention during arrest, manipulated evidence during trial, and continued with illegal harassment afterwards .
Finally the initial credit card evidence used in the investigation has since been widely debunked due to their being no established link between a credit card being used and actual pornography being downloaded . Additionally multiple cases of credit card fraud involving organised crime syndicates has also raised the possibility that credit card numbers retrieved from Landslide.com may have been used by a third party, and not their owners at all .
Similar operations in the United Kingdom have come under intense fire both from those wrongfully convicted and from civil rights groups .It is felt by certain lay-people that operations like Auxin are less about targeting actual child abuse and more about massive arrest rates to garner positive media attention .
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