Letter to the White House

I cannot sleep, I cannot eat. I’m scared to walk to the bathroom because I’m afraid they will hunt me down.… I’m not the same. — An American citizen trapped in Kuwait Here is my letter: Sir, please intervene to ensure that Gulet Mohamed, age 19, of Alexandria, Virginia, is returned home from prison in […]

A water-cure establishment

I’ve mentioned how the term “water cure” was used by U.S. troops in the Philippines as a sarcastic euphemism for water torture. Here is an illustration and excerpt from an 1855 description of a resort where the water cure, or “hydropathic system,” was in use. I’m quoting George White’s Historical Collections of Georgia: The above […]

Why we call it waterboarding

I recently found some supporting evidence for my theory (in this post, one of my most read) that the term waterboarding is intended to make nonsense of a victim’s suffering by comparing his torture to an extreme sport. (Think of snowboarding, etc.) Well, a while ago Isabel Macdonald searched newspaper archives to learn about the […]

A brief history of waterboarding

“Waterboarding” is the latest name for a form of water torture going back to the Middle Ages in Europe, but condemned as illegal and immoral since the 1700s. Banned from Europe, water torture persisted in other parts of the world, including some European colonies, until the mid-20th century. In the United States, water torture first […]