Report Exposes U.S. Military's Sex Torture Tactics

WASHINGTON, D.C. - For all the Justice Department's posturing about "obscene materials which degrade our society and depict behavior that we think is disgraceful," one aspect of sex which no one in the Bush administration has addressed is the sexual torture committed by the U.S. military and CIA-contracted "interrogators" against alleged "enemy combatants" held prisoner at both Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq.

In a July 7 Huffington Post article titled "Sex Crimes in the White House," acclaimed author Naomi Wolf details the "authorized sexualized abuse of detainees" at both facilities, quoting liberally from law professor Philippe Sands' recent book, Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values.

"Diane Beaver, the Staff Judge Advocate at Guantanamo who signed off on many torture techniques," Wolf writes, "told Sands about brainstorming sessions that included the use of 'sexual tension,' which was 'culturally taboo, disrespectful, humiliating and potentially unexpected.'"

"'Who has the glassy eyes?' Beaver asked herself as she surveyed the men around the room, thirty or more of them," Sands wrote of the military's "brainstorming sessions" at Guantanamo. "She was invariably the only woman in the room, keeping control of the boys. The younger men would get excited, agitated, even: 'You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas' [reported Beaver]. A wan smile crossed Beaver's face: 'And I said to myself, you know what, I don't have a dick to get hard, I can stay detached.'"

But while the sexualized torture at Guantanamo consisted mainly of attaching electrodes to prisoners' "sensitive areas" - possibly their cocks and balls - it was Beaver's October 11, 2002 memo detailing such techniques as "removal of clothing"; "forced grooming (shaving of facial hair, etc.)"; "using detainees' individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress"; and the "use of the isolation facility for up to 30 days," together with its six pages of legal justifications for each technique, that is alleged to have provided the basis for even more egregious tortures performed upon the prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

"There is also the testimony by female soldiers such as Lynndie England about compelling male prisoners to masturbate," Wolf writes of Abu Ghraib. "[An FBI] memo cites a female interrogator rubbing lotion on a shackled detainee and whispering in his ear - during Ramadan when sexual contact with a strange woman would be most offensive - then suddenly bending back his thumbs until he grimaced in pain, and violently grabbing his genitals. Sexual abuse in US-operated prisons got worse and worse over time, ultimately including, according to doctors who examined detainees, anal sodomy."

Wolf continues by noting that the above practices have all the hallmarks of the "standard operating procedure for sex offenders."

"Those who work in the field know that once sex abusers control a powerless victim, they will invariably push the boundaries with ever more extreme behavior," Wolf writes. "Abusers start by undressing their victims, but once that line has been breached, you are likely to hear from the victim about oral and anal penetration, greater and greater pain and fear being inflicted, and more and more carelessness about exposing the crimes as the perpetrator's inhibitions fall away... Silence, and even collusion, is also typical of sex crimes within a family. Americans are behaving like a dysfunctional family by shielding sex criminals in their midst through silence."

Wolf calls for American to "hold accountable those who committed, or authorized, sex crimes in US-operated prisons," noting that "[t]hroughout the world, this perverse and graphic criminality has added fuel to anxiety about US cultural and military power. These acts need to be called by their true names - war crimes and sex crimes - and people in America need to demand justice for the perpetrators and their victims. As in a family, only when people start to speak out and tell the truth about rape and sexual assault can the healing begin."

It's a powerful statement, and one that highlights the hypocrisy of the Department of Justice, on the one hand, prosecuting adult producers who depict fisting, squirting, peeing and enemas, and on the other hand, the Department of Defense's legal "experts" who justify various types of sexual assaults committed on helpless captives.