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Why The Photos Probably Do Show Detainees Sodomized and Raped

Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, looks at the torture we know about, as well as evidence uncovered by human rights groups, and reaches some disturbing conclusions about the Pentagon’s supressed prisoner abuse photos. From The Huffington Post:

The Telegraph of London broke the news — because the U.S. press is in a drugged stupor – — that the photos President Barack Obama is refusing to release of detainee abuse depict, among other sexual tortures, an American soldier raping a female detainee and a male translator raping a male prisoner.

The paper claims the photos also show anal rape of prisoners with foreign objects such as wires and lightsticks. Retired Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba calls the images “horrific” and “indecent” (but absurdly agrees that Obama should not release them — proving once again that the definition of hypocrisy is the assertion that the truth is in poor taste).

Predictably, a few hours later, the Pentagon issues a formal denial.

It is very likely that the Pentagon lying. This is probably exactly what the photos show, because it happened. Precisely these exact sex crimes — these exact images and these very objects – — are familiar and well-documented to those of us who follow closely rights organizations reports of what has already been confirmed.

As I wrote last year in my piece on sex crimes against detainees, “Sex Crimes in the White House,” highly perverse, systematic sexual torture and sexual humiliation was, original documents reveal, directed from the top:

  • President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were present in meetings where sexual humiliation was discussed as policy.
  • The Defense Authorization Act of 2007 was written specifically to allow certain kinds of sexual abuse, such as forced nakedness, which is illegal and understood by domestic and international law to be a form of sexual assault.
  • Rumsfeld is in print and on the record consulting with subordinates about the policy and practice of sexual humiliation, in a collection of documents obtained by the ACLU by a Freedom of Information Act filing compiled in Jameel Jaffer’s important book The Torture Administration.

The image of the female prisoner, probably Iraqi, being sexually assaulted? That image, or a similar one, has been widely seen in the Muslim world. Reports of the rape scenes described have also appeared in rights organizations summaries since 2004.

And scores of detainees who have told their stories to rights organizations have told independently confirming accounts of a highly consistent practice of sexual torture at U.S.-held prisons, including having their genitals slashed with razors, electrodes placed on genitals, and being told the U.S. military would find and rape their mothers.

Is systemic sex crimes practiced by the U.S. in a consequence of the lawlessness of “the war on terror” surprising to those of us who work on issues of sexual abuse and war? It is totally predictable: When you give soldiers anywhere in the world the power, let alone the mandate, to hold women or men helpless, without recourse to law, kidnap them as a matter of policy — as the U.S. military kidnapped the wives of “insurgents” in order to compel them to turn themselves in — strip them naked, and threaten them, you have a completely predictable recipe for mass sexual assault. The magisterial study of rape in war, Susan Brownmiller’s Men, Women and Rape, proves that.

But what is far scarier about these images Obama refuses to release and that the Pentagon is likely to be lying about now, is that it is not the evidence of lower-level soldiers being corrupted by power — it is proof of the fact that the most senior leadership — Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, with Rice’s collusion — were running a global sex-crime trafficking ring with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Baghram Air Base as the holding sites.

The sexual nature of the torture also gives the lie to Cheney’s and others’ defense of torture as somehow functional: The sexual perversity mandated from the top reveals that it was just plain old sick sadism gratified by a very sick form of pleasure. I also pointed out in “Sex Crimes in the White House” that the escalation of the sexual abuse showed the same classic pattern shown by sex criminals everywhere — you start with stripping the victim, keeping him or her completely in your power, and then you engage in greater and more violent excesses with more and more self-justification.

Read the whole article here.

 

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