Today at Counterpunch (subscription only, hence the handy partial guide that follows), reporter Debbie Nathan retells the Justin Berry narrative. It's another version of the story of the teen hustler turned adult pornographer turned government witness that Kurt Eichenwald told in the New York Times in December, 2005—a retelling she undertook as his was constituted from what she calls "deficient reporting." This will undoubtedly incite Eichenwald into some lawyerly frenzy.

Nathan and Eichenwald have positions on opposite sides of an underpinning debate, which is what really fuels this fracas. From his point of view, Debbie Nathan is in league with pedophiles! She has this crazy idea that there's a hysteria in the U.S. about child sex predators. And also from his point of view, Kurt Eichenwald, whose employers at Conde Nast surely aren't loving this, is exposing a massive secret internets-based network of adults who prey on children everywhere. "Every webcam in every child's room in America should be thrown out today," as Eichenwald told Oprah. Child porn is a "$20 billion-dollar business," he told the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.

From her version to his, there are many differences in detail, narrative, and the meaning of events. Nathan's question is this:

Who had turned Justin from being a "happy kid" for whom "life was going well" and "everything was great"—as he would later tell Congress and Oprah Winfrey—into a "pretty messed up kid"?

Instead of continuing with the theme of Justin Berry being turned out by this well-organized world-wide predator net, Nathan emphasizes Justin's sex business with his father, go figure, and his oddly-ignorant therapist-mother, and most of all his real-world friends in Bakersfield.

Eichenwald noted that when [Justin's girlfriend] Michelle told Justin to stop the camwhoring, she was contravened by insidious online predators, who cajoled with treacly blandishments such as, "Just try and remember, Justin, that she may not love you, but most of us in your chat room, your friends, love you very much."

What Eichenwald doesn't reveal is that according to chat logs Justin's actual friends—his age peers in Bakersfield—were pressuring him much more intensely.

Like in December, 2002, when Berry typed to his girlfriend:

"Michelle, I'm whoring to help out some friends. It's the only way I can think of how to get that much money instantly... it's a job, and I enjoy it... I guess you don't see what I'm trying to accomplish with my cam."

And after Justin met Eichenwald, his chat logs, produced in court, according to Nathan, showed that he still hustled online—and that he claimed to be a minor when chatting with adults.

But there are totally pedophiles out there, no mistake about it.

Not long before he turned 19, Justin joined Greg Mitchel in Virginia, where Mitchel ran a Sonic hamburger franchise. Teens hung around in the summer, and one, whom we will call David, was 14. Sometime in May or June, Mitchel began encouraging David to make videos of himself masturbating, using Mitchel's recording equipment. Eichenwald would later write in the Times that during the same period he had just contacted Justin and was communicating with him only online. However, in an audiotaped interview done of David by a private investigator employed by lawyers for one of the defendants charged after Eichenwald's piece was published, David says Eichenwald also was talking to Justin by phone. David describes grabbing the phone at least once, and chatting with Eichenwald. Back then, David, Justin and Greg Mitchel were unaware of Eichenwald's true identity and that he was a New York Times reporter. "We all didn't know his real name," David says on the tape. "All of us knew him as... Roy."

In the aftermath of the whole experience, which was surely intense at best:

Eichenwald told Congress... "There were images I couldn't get out of my head when the lights went out." One image may have been of Justin in a legal pose, first displayed on his website after he turned state's evidence and not removed until about the time he gave his nationally televised congressional testimony. The image - a photo - shows him looking pensive, anxious, in sunglasses and shirtless. Viewers who click under the picture are transferred to Justin implores them to enter and register. By so doing, they can "vote" for him. But they must act soon because he is already 19, and soon will be too old for the election.