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One of the most distressing stories to come from 2004's Tsunami was the story of pedophiles going to hospitals and claiming lost children as their own. Some people are so obsessed with sex, it would seem, that nothing will prevent them indulging their predilections. Not the law, not common decency, not even, as you are about to read, the fear of death.

The existence of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq is one of Western Society's dirtiest secrets. Although officially denied, we know that it was the site of organised abuse, torture, electrocution and even sexual molestation. Whether this was a bizarre Stanford Experiment-style lack of self control amongst the rank and file or whether this was organised abuse arranged by senior officers remains unknown. But now an even more bizarre question about the facility, and a prisoner named Eckhart Guttel, pose a challenge to the institution.

Konnie Guttel was an elderly resident of Berlin who spoke only to herself and her cats, until she saw something shocking on TV. She quoted to one news source, "I was watching the news, and was about to turn to another channel, when I saw my little Eckhart being paraded by American guards on TV."

Ms. Guttel made several phone calls, and eventually discerned that her son Eckhart was indeed being held captive in Iraq. He had been classified as a NIC - a Non-Islamic Combatant - and held in Abu Ghraib's maximum security facility. The discovery prompted an outcry in anti-war Germany, which was seemingly ended by the sudden reappearance of Mr Guttel at his mother's home. He claimed that he had been on holiday in Bangkok, and that the sighting was a case of mistaken identity.

But the story doesn't end there. 8 months later, an email began circulation amongst certain special interest groups. The special interest was submission/domination sex, and the email was entitled "Come get NICed, for the best three months of your life". The email (which can not be reproduced for reasons of decency) offered, "...the best month of your life, getting [taken care of] by big butch men until you can't [enjoy yourself] any more!"

A journalist from Die Welt realised that there may be an connection, and set off on a six-month mission to Iraq. While over there, she encountered an American serving at the facility who admitted...

"Yeah, guys come here now and then. They read about the torture, the sexual abuse, and, I don't know, it kind of turns them on."

The source went on to reveal how some men paid a fee of up to e50,000, which was passed on to some corrupt guards at the facility. The "tourists" (as referred to by those in the know) would make it across the Iraq border and be picked up after a tip-off made anonymously by one of the corrupt guards. In the tip-off, it would be inferred that those arrested were senior-ranking officials of European terror groups, come to advise the insurgents on how best to prosecute a war. This would result in two things: the race of the arrestee would not be an issue; and also they would be immediately classed as a category A prisoner, ensuring brutal treatment.

"I don't know how much of the torture was officially sanctioned," continued the source, "but it seemed that the guys put in control of Cat A were real animals, real psychos, you know. They had so much...imagination about how to hurt these guys. I don't think they even cared about information, they just wanted to cause pain."

And cause pain they did. Many of the abuses of Abu Ghraib are well-documented - the use of electrodes, the beatings, the group sex, the rapes. Some treatments were reserved for Cat A prisoners however, such as the Car Wash (in which 8 men ejaculate in the face of the victim), the Treasure Hunt (in which the anus of the victim is filled with meat, before he sent fully clothed into a room full of attack dogs), as well as the Blood Beard, the Silk Cut, the Heart-Shaped Hole and the Water Bottle, all of which are too disturbing to mention here.

After one month, the NICs would be smuggled out of the facility under the guise of a transfer, where they would be taken back to the Iraqi border. It is understood that, in total, as few as four staff of Abu Ghraib may have been aware of this clandestine agreement.

"I only found out when one of them tried to buy me in," said the source. "I couldn't say no, and I couldn't blow the whistle, because I knew at least one of the guys involved could have me killed. It makes me sick, to think of my buddies risking their asses every day, getting rocks thrown at them for being 'invaders', and some bunch of perverts are enjoying all of this."

At one point, the number of NICs in Abu Ghraib stood as high as a dozen. Now it's zero, with all previous cases pending review. But the question put forward by one US Senator remains unanswered: "If people are actually paying do be tortured, then how can we possible say that torture, be it in Iraq, in Guantanamo Bay or in the infamous 'extraordinary rendition' flights, is helping us win the war on terror?"

A RumourQuest 2006 entry. Dedicated to the victims of torture in Iraq and elsewhere, and the soldiers risking their lives for God knows what.

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