Bizarre Spin on Tortured Confessions of Australian Khmer Rouge Victims.

Bizarre Spin on Tortured Confessions of Australian Khmer Rouge Victims.

Above Photo: Looking out from a balcony still covered in barbed wire at Tuol Sleng Prison, Phnom Penh.

While doing some BACK-related research, I came across a really misleading piece on theaustralian.com website (see link below), which discussed two Australians who were interrogated and murdered by the Khmer Rouge in Tuol Sleng torture centre in Cambodia.

I then read similar comments on another Australian blog (no doubt repeating the newspaper’s editorial tone) that both David Lloyd Scott and Ronald Dean, who had been tortured and beaten into signing pathetic and untrue confessions in the most disgusting circumstances, had somehow “thumbed their noses at” their captors and that the confessions were “pisstakes”, and that by supplying them, they had “unfortunately…signed their own death warrants.”

David Lloyd Scott in a photo taken on his arrival at Tuol Sleng in 1978.

Another Western Khmer Rouge victim, mis-identified as ‘David Lloyd Scott’ in a photo taken on his arrival at Tuol Sleng in 1978. Who he really is remains, sadly, a mystery.

Describing these confessions as some kind of private joke which ended up with the unintended consequences of having these men killed is totally wrong and disrespectful to the suffering these men would have endured, and displays a lack of understanding of what the Khmer Rouge were doing in Tuol Sleng (or S-21), under the sadistic rule of Comrade Duch.

Portraying these confessions as defiance or “pisstakes” is just wrong.

Some of the thousands of Cambodian victims of Khmer Rouge torture at Tuol Sleng.

Some of the thousands of Cambodian victims of Khmer Rouge torture at Tuol Sleng.

The purpose of torture in Tuol Sleng was to extract confessions implicating others: networks of spies, conspirators, the CIA, KGB, the Vietnamese, all of whom the Khmer Rouge believed were trying to ‘undermine’ their crackpot State.

The Khmer Rouge were so paranoid about their miserable and failing Chinese-backed experiment in genocide and mass-enslavement, that they needed to produce enemies where none really existed. And to do that, they brutally tortured people, Cambodians, Westerners, Americans, Aussies, Vietnamese; anyone who was processed through the camp, until they got what they were after. Truth was irrelevant in the torture process, and they didn’t stop until they had a confession.

Individual wooden cells on the upper floors of Tuol Sleng.

Individual wooden cells on the upper floors of Tuol Sleng.

Like other Western victims, David Lloyd Scott and Ronald Dean had fallen into the Khmer Rouge’s hands by allegedly sailing into Cambodian waters in the Gulf of Thailand in 1978. After that they were offloaded, probably in Sihanoukville, and taken by road to Phnom Penh, where they were incarcerated in Tuol Sleng for interrogation and prolonged torture.

Some of the old classrooms at Tuol Sleng were knocked into large communal cells, where prisoners were chained to metal bars attached to the walls.

Some of the old classrooms at Tuol Sleng were knocked into large communal cells, where prisoners were chained to metal bars attached to the walls.

An indication of the severity of the prison and lack of respect for prisoners can be seen in the courtyard of Tuol Sleng today, where ten (translated) rules which inmates had to abide by have been put up on a sign. These include:

  • You must answer accordingly to my question. Don’t turn them away.
  • Don’t try to hide the facts by making pretexts this and that, you are strictly prohibited to contest me.
  • Don’t be a fool for you are a chap who dare to thwart the revolution.
  • You must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.
  • Don’t tell me either about your immoralities or the essence of the revolution.
  • While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all.
  • If you don’t follow all the above rules, you shall get many lashes of electric wire.
  • If you disobey any point of my regulations you shall get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge.

Former guards at Tuol Sleng say up to 30,000 people passed through the torture centre before the fall of Phnom Penh in 1979.

Only a handful survived.

SOme of the young guards and torturers in a photo taken at Tuol Sleng during the Khmer Rouge period (DCC)

Some of the young guards and torturers in a photo taken at Tuol Sleng during the Khmer Rouge period (DCC)

So when these Australian men confessed that old friends of theirs were CIA operatives and they’d been recruited into the CIA by stupidly named people like Mr Magoo, in exotic locations like Prague, or one of their old Colleges in Western Australia was a CIA training farm for “active probationary CIA agents”, these weren’t jokes; it wasn’t “black humour” or “pisstakes”.

They were outpourings of anything that came to mind as the terrified victims were brutally tortured in Tuol Sleng. They had to give their interrogators something – anything; and in the absence of anything concrete to confess to, under the weight of torture, people simply made things up.

The victims’ suffering shouldn’t be trivialized, even today.

A bleak view of Tuol Sleng during its use as an interrogation centre before the Khmer Rouge were deposed in 1979.

A bleak view of Tuol Sleng during its use as an interrogation centre before the Khmer Rouge were deposed in 1979. (DCC)

Not that the unfortunate victims knew it, but after they’d confessed, they were to be murdered like so many thousands of others who’d passed through the prison.

Hopefully, one day all Khmer Rouge murderers will be brought to justice, right across Cambodia, not just a few OAPs thrown to the wolves, who’ll all probably die of old age before a verdict anyway.

Sadly I doubt this will ever happen, but all of their victims deserve it.

Have a cigar. Meas Muth, who was in charge of the Khmer Rouge Navy when David Lloyd Scott and Ronald Dean were abducted, tortured and murdered. He and others are being well protected from prosecution by the current Cambodian government.

Have a cigar. Meas Muth, who was in charge of the Khmer Rouge Navy when David Lloyd Scott and Ronald Dean were abducted, tortured and murdered. He and others are being well protected from prosecution by the current Cambodian government.

See the full article in the Australian here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/intrepid-larrikins-defied-pol-pots-killers/story-e6frg6n6-1225761788100

Foreign and local tourists mix in the courtyard of Tuol Sleng.

Foreign and local tourists mix in the courtyard of Tuol Sleng.

For a modern-day take on the Vietnam War, POWs/MIAs and Adventure Backpackers trekking into the war-ravaged jungles of Asia, seehttp://peteralanlloyd.com/back-part-2/backpackers-meet-the-vietnam-war-back-screenplay-finally-finished/

For POWs left behind in Laos, see:

© Peter Alan Lloyd

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2 Comments

  1. Frank

    Hello Peter
    I am writing to offer a correction in your above article about David Scott
    I was thinking recently about my old days at Wesley (59-64) and all the guys that I knew in that time. Today I google David Lloyd Scott and your story about him came up. I knew David well at Wesley as we used to fly model aeroplanes together on the oval in our boarding days. After he left Wesley he went back to Kellaberrin to his family farm or business. Not sure witch. He formed a band there called the farmers sons and they used to play all over the wheat belt. He played at my 21’s birthday back on our farm in Wyalkatchem. I went over seas in ’71 and didn’t come back until ’78. It was then I heard about David in Cambodia. I travelled through Cambodia in 2012 and followed the Pol Pot story. I went to the Toul Slang prison and the killing fields. At the killing fields they had a picture, supposedly of Scotty, which is the same one that you have re produced in this article. That picture and yours is not David Scott. I spoke at length to the Cambodian guide we had up there and he admitted that one westerner looks the same as another and they thought that the picture they had on the wall was close enough. Also he said that a lot of records were destroyed when Pol Pot fell. So they used what they had.
    Peter, I am 99% sure that this photo is not David Scott.
    Maybe you could check with others who were in his grade years at Wesley. ( I was a year or so behind him)
    Frank Barrington Lawrence

    Reply

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