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Why the Pentagon Is Probably Lying About its Supressed Sodomy and Rape Photos

This is probably exactly what the photos show, because it happened. The same-sex crimes against detainees have been documented.

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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.

The lightsticks, for instance? We in the human rights world know about the lightsticks. Probably dozens of prisoners were sodomized with lightsticks. In the highly credible and very fully documented Physicians for Human Rights report, " Broken Bodies, Broken Lives," doctors investigated the wounds and scars of former prisoners, did analysis of the injuries, assessed the independent verification of their stories, and reported that indeed many detainees had in fact been savagely raped with lightsticks and by other objects inserted into their rectums, many sustaining internal injuries.

This same report confirms that female military or other unidentified U.S.-affiliated personnel were used to sexually abuse detainees by smearing menstrual blood on their faces, seizing their genitals violently, or rubbing them in a sexual manner against their will. In other credible accounts collected by human rights organizations, many former prisoners in U.S.-held prisons report that they had been tortured or humiliated by female agents who appeared to be dressed like prostitutes.

Indeed, early on, intelligence spokespeople boasted in the New York Times of the use of female agents to sexually abuse and humiliate prisoners: it was called in their own material "invasion of space by a female."

Today at lunch, I happen to have sat next to the lovely and brave Dale Haddon, the "face of L'Oreal," who is also a tireless advocate for women and children through UNICEF. She is heading for Congo, to help hold accountable rape and sex crimes institutionalized as acts of war. Those criminals will face trials and convictions.

In Sierra Leone, the soldiers and generals who used rape as an instrument of war have been tried and many convicted. In Bosnia, likewise. But at another lunch party, Haddon, who travels in many circles, may well be seated next to our own former leaders, violent and systemic sex criminals who are still at large.

When will we convict our very own global rapists, the ones who gave the U.S. the hellish distinction of turning us into the superpower of sex crime? Convictions must come, but first we must see the evidence.

And women especially, who understand how sexual abuse and rape can break the spirit in a uniquely anguishing way, should be raising their voices loudly.

Whom are we protecting by not releasing the photos? The victims? Hardly. It's, as feminists have been saying for decades, not their shame. The perpetrators? Their crimes are archived; if not this administration, another may well obey the law and release the images, which are evidentiary (again: that rape and sodomy were directed form the top; prosecute those at the top).

These photos go to exactly why Obama is burning what is left of the shreds of the Constitution by calling for pre-emptive detention for about 100 detainees. It ain't because they are "too dangerous," his pathetic justification. It is because their bodies are crime scenes. It is because the torture, including possibly the sexual assault, they experienced is likely to be so horrific that if they were ever to have their day in court it is others whom Obama needs who would be incriminated.

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