Historical Descriptions

"A man is thrown down on his back and three or four men sit or stand on his arms and legs and hold him down; and either a gun barrel or a rifle barrel or a carbine barrel or a stick as big as a belaying pin, -- that is, with an inch circumference, -- is simply thrust into his jaws and his jaws are thrust back, and, if possible, a wooden log or stone is put under his head or neck, so he can be held more firmly. In the case of very old men I have seen their teeth fall out, -- I mean when it was done a little roughly. He is simply held down and then water is poured onto his face down his throat and nose from a jar; and that is kept up until the man gives some sign or becomes unconscious. And, when he becomes unconscious, he is simply rolled aside and he is allowed to come to. In almost every case the men have been a little roughly handled. They were rolled aside rudely, so that water was expelled. A man suffers tremendously, there is no doubt about it. His sufferings must be that of a man who is drowning, but cannot drown. ..."
— Lieutenant Grover Flint during the Philippine-American War, quoted in Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, Stuart Creighton Miller (1982)

"The victim was tied lengthways on a ladder, face upwards with a rung of the ladder across his throat and his head below the ladder. In this position he was slid head first into to a tub of water and kept there until almost drowned. After being revived, interrogation continued and he would be re-immersed."
Robin Rowland, Waterboarding is a war crime. Rowland quotes surviving civilian prisoners of the Japanese occupation of Singapore.

"[He] poured the water softly upon his head until the cloth was full, up to the mouth and nostrils, and somewhat higher, so that he could not draw breath but he must suck in all the water."
A True Relation of the Unjust, Cruel and Barbarous Proceedings against the English at Amboyna (1624)

"Four decades ago, as a reporter in Vietnam, I saw what it was like. When you hog-tie a human being, tilt him head down, stuff a rag in his mouth and over his nostrils and pour water onto the rag slowly and steadily to the point where his lungs start to fill with water, that is torture."
- Joseph Galloway, Editor and Publisher, November 8 2007