A shocking series of pictures obtained by the international press have revealed the extent to which the abuse of the weak and helpless victims has become institutionalised in the US. The photographs, first published in the Streatham Mercury-Post and Weekly Advertiser, show National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice grinning and giving the thumbs-up sign to the camera with one hand, whilst pointing at the flaccid genitals of a naked and shackled President George W Bush with the other. Other pictures show a laughing Donald Rumsfield using a dog collar and leash to restrain a snarling Richard Perle from lunging at the exposed genitalia of a handcuffed and hooded figure, believed to be Secretary of State Colin Powell. Perhaps the most disturbing photo is of a group of naked men (thought to include former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan) piled on top of each other to form a human pyramid. Paul Bremer, head of the US administration in Iraq, is clearly seen grinning widely as he plants the Stars and Stripes between the buttocks of the figure at the pyramid’s apex (tentatively identified as British Premier Tony Blair).

The reaction from the Bush administration’s critics to the photos – allegedly taken during an international summit meeting on the future of Iraq held at Camp David – was predictably swift. “These pictures clearly demonstrate the contempt in which this administration holds its international partners,” bellowed veteran Democratic Senator Gary Lumber. “Is it any wonder our troops in Iraq are behaving so abominably when this is the kind of example set by their leadership? Rumsfield and Rice should resign immediately!” However, doubt has been cast upon the veracity of the pictures, with suggestions that they could be faked. “Our expert analysis clearly shows that the type of handcuffs being used to restrain the President are of a type which have never been sold in the US, whilst the ropes he is bound with are tied with a type of knot known only to a small number of Cape Cod fishermen -it is impossible for Miss Rice to have tied it, ” claims CIA Deputy Director Scott Muttoner. “We believe that the press has been duped into publishing a collection of highly sophisticated fake photos designed to discredit the President and his allies.” Nevertheless, Muttoner does concede that, even if they are fakes, the pictures could be a reconstruction of an actual event. “We know that some pretty wild things go on at these summits – hell, those politicians are under a lot of pressure, and when they relax and let their hair down, it can get kinda crazy,” he explains. “Don’t forget, the President, VP, Defense Secretary and the like, were all members of fraternities, and they often like to demonstrate the kind of initiation rites they had to go to – they believe subjecting their guests to something similar helps create a feeling of unity and brotherhood.”

Indeed, some commentators have claimed that the recent allegations of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by the US military at Abu Ghraib are simply the result of a cultural misunderstanding. “Our boys and girls were simply trying to initiate our new Iraqi friends into our western ways – showing them how we welcome newcomers into our societies,” says Republican Representative Joseph P Cleat. “Hell, I went through worse during my first year at Harvard – electrodes attached to my nipples, dick put through a mangler. I really don’t know what they’re complaining about – I mean, they’ll get some neat little fraternity rings out of it!” Britain’s Ministry of Defence has employed similar reasoning as it attempts to fend off allegations of mistreatment of prisoners by British troops. “This sort of thing is very commonplace in the British Army, most regiments have some kind of initiation ritual involving being pissed on by the NCOs and having a broom handle, or such like, shoved up your arse,” explains Major General Horace de l’Assle. “It is a tradition which filters down to the men from their officers – most of whom have attended public school and are used to the idea of mass buggerings and the like, as a form of male bonding. It’s all perfectly normal and healthy behaviour, I’m afraid these Iraqi-wallahs simply misconstrued it all.”

The General also has little time for complaints that the behaviour of Coalition soldiers is frequently found offensive by Iraqis and that they are showing little respect for local cultural traditions – publicly consuming alcohol, drunkenly baring their genitals and buttocks at passers-by, verbally abusing women and urinating against the walls of mosques. “What do these people expect? Our boys are simply a bunch of trained thugs, too stupid or socially maladjusted to find gainful employment anywhere else! They’re scum whose ‘patriotism’ is fuelled by cheap alcohol,” he declares. “They’re not treating Iraq any differently than they do they’re own homeland – just ask anyone in Britain who has the misfortune to live anywhere near a major army base! Quite frankly, these Iraqis need to, as our American cousins would say, loosen up! I mean, no alcohol, no nudity! God Almighty, a man could die of boredom! No wonder our lads are having to find such extreme ways of amusing themselves!”

However, some on the far right believe that all the current allegations against Coalition troops are false and that the soldiers are the victims of an elaborate Iraqi plot. “They were lured into one of Saddam’s notorious porn film studios, on the pretext that it was a massage parlour – next thing they knew they were drugged and in the middle of a gay porn S&M movie,” claims conservative radio commentator Deke Girdler. “All those supposed Iraqi victims were willing participants – hardened gay porno performers, every one of them! This is all part of a devilish plot to discredit our brave boys and girls and their magnificent fight to establish decent Christian American values in those heathen Arab countries!” Girdler also claims that Iraqi fundamentalist fanatics have recently abandoned the tactic of suicide bombing, instead they are now stripping naked and hurling themselves at passing US patrols, whilst being photographed by their cohorts. “Of course, it is the natural reaction of any good red-blooded heterosexual American male to fend off any such apparently violent homosexual assault in any way possible – the consequence being photos apparently showing our boys clubbing naked, unarmed Iraqis bloody and senseless with their rifle butts,” he explains. “I just thank God that the unbiased reporting of our free western press will ensure that the public won’t be fooled for one minute by these vile attempts to undermine our troops in their historic mission!