Waterboarding in Cambodia

Sean Ragsdale has been traveling through Asia and sharing some interesting video and photos with friends. He also happens to be one of the folks behind waterboarding.org. He writes:
While we were in Cambodia this winter I visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Tuol Sleng is one of the few places where you can see a real actual waterboard in the room where it was used to torture prisoners. I've created a 'waterboardingdotorg' Flickr account and put a link up here.
Nice to know America has something in common with the Khmer Rouge -- something that isn't torture, of course. Among the photos in that set, this chilling shot of a poster on the wall of the Khmer Rouge's chief of staff, now covered with graffitti -- and this sign reprimanding less-than-reverent visitors; "no laughing allowed."


* What Waterboarding Feels Like
* Senator Kit Bond: Waterboarding is "like swimming"
* Waterboarding.org


  1. I was gonna put down something referencing “Holiday in Cambodia”, but this looks like some pretty horrible stuff. I wonder what the graffiti says on that poster.

  2. thnk ths s n f th bst rgmnts t s gnst trtr: rgrdlss f th nfrmtn gnd by t, t’s wrng, nd nly th nms f hmnty ngg n t; whtvr cst w hv t br n xchng fr NT nggng n trtr s prbbly wrth th fnl pyff.

  3. Such a sickening and sobering chapter of history. Such a terrible pity our own government is now employing the same “interrogation” techinques as that bastard Pol Pot.

  4. How is this identical to waterboarding? I don’t get it.

    Perhaps I need to be re-educated to better see the straight line from the Khmer Rouge to the US of A.

  5. Firstly; use the computer before you to find first hand accounts from Pol Pot’s survivors.

    Secondly, read the several recent accounts of people in the “free world” experimenting with water torture first hand.

  6. No thanks. You are asking me to compare apples to oranges. The image I am looking at is not waterboarding.

  7. No thanks. You are asking me to compare apples to oranges. The image I am looking at is not waterboarding.

  8. I think drowning feels much the same regardless of the details. Have you ever drowned? I didn’t enjoy my experience. The difference, I suppose, is that I was being killed by Mother Ocean- nothing personal, just punishment for the insolence of carelessness. To be in that circumstance at the hands of another human? I’ve endured a few minor tortures (only as a child) from others. They mark me still.

    Please, consider what you have said. Labels obscure truth, try to use true names.

  9. I have not used labels and I haven’t obscured truth. Instead I am asking for clarity: I have asked how the image I am looking at is waterboarding. And I am still waiting for an answer.

    You instruct me to use “true names.” I am. Boingboing labeled the entry as “Waterboarding in Cambodia.” Waterboarding is a specific term meaning a specific methodology. The image in the boingboing post is not of waterboarding and therefore — alas– doesn’t draw the straight line to the United States as heir to the practices of the Khmer Rouge. That line is only drawn if the viewer wills that connection.

  10. Torture is a uniquely human thing. Even the cat with mouse or orca with seal pup cannot be accused of torture…. even the Inuit hunter teaching a barely standing toddler to stone a tethered seagull to death is not doing “torture”.

    In your heart of hearts, would you draw a line between hung by your heels in a tank of water or smothered with nothing to breath by what moisture could be drawn from a collapsed plastic bag?

    Is not what counts the certain knowledge that someone else is doing this to you? someone who could stop, but chooses not to?

    These tortures were and are performed on those you would call children as well as adults. Could you stand there and watch,protected by the distinction of terminology?

    Try to discard labels such as “Khymer Rouge”. These people were and are the same as you. And me.

  11. Hi. This might be considered trivial in the current context, but really isn’t. It’s about the right of people who survive horrible s..t to have their voices listened to, and acknowledged, after the fact.

    The art described here as a “poster” appears to be a painting by the Cambodian genocide survivor and artist Vann Nath. He was a prisoner at Tuol Sleng and one of its few survivors. He both documented and dealt with his experiences through paintings such as this.

    His paintings were used by the Vietnamese regime (79-93) as propaganda highlighting Khmer Rouge atrocities, through their display at museums/memorials such as Tuol Sleng.

    To cut a long story short. Vann Nath usually didn’t get any payment or credit for his work under the Vietnamese. These days he won’t work with these themes. But I think he might appreciate credit for his older works.

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