In September 1998, another ring was raided – what the BBC described as “a larger and more sinister paedophile network called Wonderland.” The network was so named in honor of Lewis Carroll’s revered children’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that: “Police in … 22 states and 13 foreign countries conducted coordinated raids … aimed at breaking up an Internet child-pornography ring … The ring involves as many as 200 people around the world, who exchanged over the Internet thousands of sexually explicit images of children as young as 18 months.” The Independent later reported that the ring “shared pictures of children being abused — in some cases live via web-cam broadcasts over the internet.”
The raids included homes in “Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Sweden,” according to the New York Times, which added that: “Several dozen people were arrested, but officials said they expected more than 100 to be charged.” The Independent later reported that 107 suspects were ultimately arrested. The Mercury News implied that this may be only the tip of the iceberg: “The ring actually extends into 47 countries.”
The case was described by a British official as “stomach-churning.” The Times reported that “Wonderland Club members are believed to have posed their own children for pictures … In other cases … parents may have taken money to let their children be used.” The Guardian reported that over 1,250 children were featured in the photos and videos, “many of whom suffered appalling injuries and were seen sobbing uncontrollably as they were being sexually violated.” The Independent added that the victimized children were “mostly under [the age of] 10.”
A BBC report held that the combined raids resulted in the seizure of more than “750,000 computer images of children.” A Detective Superintendent with the British National Crime Squad called these images “disgusting and the behavior that has been carried out is absolutely appalling.” Though ignored by the American press, “Wonderland originated in the United States.”
Among the scores of U.S. homes raided, one yielded a “database of more than 100,000 sexual photographs of naked boys and girls.” Interestingly enough, the Times also noted that another raid, “in Missouri, turned up a cache of weapons as well as child pornography in a heavily fortified trailer,” illustrating once again – as did the Dutroux case – the close ties between organized pedophilia and other terrorist assaults against society.
As with the earlier raids in Europe, a rash of ‘suicides’ soon followed. By October 24, the Mercury News was reporting that no fewer than four of the thirty-four American suspects had killed themselves. These included a retired Air Force pilot, a microbiologist at the University of Connecticut, and a computer consultant in Colorado.
In the UK, the Wonderland raids – dubbed Operation Cathedral – resulted in the indictments of eight suspects. One of the eight turned up dead four months later – another alleged suicide. The other seven were given ridiculously light sentences in February of 2001 for their complicity in inflicting unfathomable abuse on countless children. Sentences ranged from 12 to 30 months.
Just a few weeks before the sentences were handed down, the Guardian was reporting that: “Police today arrested 13 suspected paedophiles in the largest ever UK operation against child pornography.” Once again a massive amount of appalling evidence was seized, with most of the material featuring “scenes of children being raped and sexually abused.”
The Independent reported in February of 2001 that: “Detectives working on the [Wonderland] case discovered that many of the paedophiles were also members of other child pornography groups.” One of the groups most closely tied to Wonderland was a ring known as the Orchid Club, which had been exposed by a 1996 investigation in San Jose, California. That investigation had led to the indictment of sixteen men on charges of conspiring to produce and exchange child pornography. Members of the club were identified in at least nine states and three foreign countries.
By the time of the Wonderland raids, the Mercury News was able to report that the purported ringleader of the Orchid Club and “twelve others either have pleaded guilty or have been convicted in connection with that case.” Their crimes included recruiting “young relatives and friends of their own children to be molested and photographed.”
The club was also, like Wonderland, involved in “real-time exploitation of children” on the internet. Club members were able to send in requests and have them acted-out on live feeds. The club also held a pedophile ‘summit,’ at which members “traded stories about pre-teen girls they had molested and photographed in sexually explicit poses.” The summit was held, appropriately enough, on April 20 – the birth date of Adolf Hitler and a major satanic holiday.
In Latvia, three top officials, including the Prime Minister, were named in connection with a pedophile ring in which 2000 children in the country were abused. An online ring known as Wonderland was busted and yielded 750,000 images of children. From the article:
“Wonderland originated in the United States but also operated in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Britain.”
None of the men charged in relation to the ring served more than 30 months in jail, and only two were put on the sex offenders registry (in the year 2000!!!).