American torture in the Philippines. VI

UNCLE: You are a free American citizen, and as such you are entitled
to know how our government is carried on. I have something to inform
you about. It is the terrible cruelty practised upon Filipino
prisoners by American soldiers in these islands. First, I want to know
if the Constitution of the United States e and international law does
not prohibit torture. "We soldiers are representatives of a civilized
nation sent out to these islands to 'civilize' a so-called lot of
savages. These people, are not nearly so uncivilized as is supposed.
You probably have read about some of our men being put to death by
horrible torture, but what can you expect when we do equally as bad to
our prisoners? *Has any court the right to force any prisoner to
confess, no matter how many crimes the prisoner is supposed to have
committed? When I say force I mean to force by torture. The arms of
the United States in the Philippines is representing the law of the
United States. But whether or not it is proper to torture a man-, itis
done anyway, and under the orders of commissioned officers. I have
heard men of other regiments make their boasts of how they have made
captured insurgents tell where their arms were, but never witnessed
the torture but once. "The instance that I have reference to occurred
about two months ago. I told the officer that he had to stop it or I
would report him to higher authority. He said he would not practise it
anymore, so I never informed on him; but now I have information
about him doing the same, and even worse, nearly every day. "While I
was one of a detachment of 24 men doing garrison duty in the town of
Pasay, 3 miles from Manila, a native man about 2I years ot age was
arrested and accused of being a murderer, highway robber, and accused
of rape. Now, whether the man was guilty or not I do not know, but
anyway Lieutenant F. T. Arnold, for he was the officer in command,
gave orders to Sergeant Edwards, both of Troop H, Fourth Cavalry, to
take the man to the basement of our quarters and get what information
he could out- of the man. So Edwards took the man and asked him if he
had any information to give. The man had none. Edwards said to the
rest of the soldiers who had congregated to witness the 'fun' that he
would have to commence operations. The prisoner was stripped naked and
laid on his back on the bare floor. He was then given the 'water
cure.' A rough stick about 8 inches long and a half inch in diameter
was put between the man's jaws. A soldier held the man's head down by
pressing on the ends of the stick. Another sat on the man's stomach,
and still another sat on the man's legs. Edwards had a bucket of water
at hand. Water was poured down the man until it was vomited up. It was
then repeated. This water cure must be a terrible torture alone. The
man heaved and begged for mercy, but to no avail. While down he was
whipped and beaten unmercifully. He was then stood up and asked to
confess. He did not. He was then beaten and clubbed again. I do not
think that a square inch of the man's body was left untouched. He was
kicked. A rope was then thrown across a beam. The man was strung up by
the thumbs. Another rope was tied to his ankles and his feet jerked
from under him. While up he was beaten. "All this time I was a
looker-on. I hoped that the punishment would stop. I dared not
interfere. But when the man was strung up by the neck I could stand it
no longer, so I went to the lieutenant. Before I went to him -I did
not know that he had given orders to Edwards to torture the man if he
did not confess. I told Arnold that I was an- American and that there
was something going on at the quarters that I could not stand. He
jumped all over me and asked if I was not making myself very busy. I
said I was not; that such carryings on were against all law. He said,
in a very sarcastic manner, that I knew such a lot about law. He said
that a lot of men in the army, especially volunteers, think that they
know how to run an army, but they do not. He said: 'Now, when I give a
man to Sergeant Edwards, I want information. I do not know how he gets
it, but he gets the information anyhow.' He said that these people
have no feelings other than physical and should not be treated as
human beings. I told Arnold that I did not come to,get any one in
trouble, but merely to have the torture stopped, that if it were not
stopped I would report the matter to higher authority. I was then
threatened with court-martial for insubordination. About this time
Edwards came in and said that he had succeeded in making the man tell
where the money was. Arnold told Edwards to take the man with him and
get the money. I told Arnold that as the torture was finished I would
not report the matter if it were not repeated. He promised not to do
it again. I then left him. "The prisoner did not show where the money
was. He had only said that -he would show the hiding-place to have the
torture stopped. Three weeks later the prisoner was released. Now,
that was criminal of Arnold.If the man was guilty he should not be
released. If guilty he should not be tortured anyway. - The rest of
the time that I was with the detachment under Arnold no torture was
committed that I know of. " Now Arnold has a detachment of 20 men at
Calaca, 7 miles from here. Men that are under him now have told me
that Arnold is having men tortured the same as before and other ways
besides. This is one of his new ways: A strip of flesh is cut just
above the ankle of the prisoner; it is then attached to a stick; the
stick is coiled with the strip of flesh. Imagine the torture the poor
man must endure! I am told that when Arnold is out looking for some
criminal or suspected insurgent he will grab, or have his men grab,
any native and ask for information. If the man gives no information,
he is put to all kinds of torture. I saw the man that was cut at the
ankle. I was over at Calaca the other day. He had his leg all bound up
and was out in the road with other prisoners working. Last week a part
of this troop, a part of the Calaca detachment, and some of the
soldiers from Taal were out in the mountains. I was not along, but
have been told by several men that Arnold had his men take an old man
to a stream and keep him under water until the man was unconscious.
This was because the old man did not give certain information that he
was supposed to possess. " Men of H Troop have told me that they have
known Arnold to have a man tied to a saddled horse. A few feet of
slack was allowed. A man was then mounted on the horse and told to
gallop down the road for a mile and then back. If the prisoner could
run as fast as the horse it was all well, put if he could not he had
to drag. Arnold had had this done several times, and more than once
the prisoner was dragged. "Now, I have witnesses for all that I have
written about, and should there ever be an investigation of this I
will be perfectly willing to be put upon the stand. I know other men
that would be willing to do the same. I believe that most of the
officers and enlisted men in the army are humane, but those that
practise what Arnold has should be brought to justice. It would do me
no good to report this matter through army channels, as it would only
be hushed up and then I would get the worst of it. Now, I am writing
this letter to you; you are a close relation of mine, and for that
reason I believe I can write anything. I think that you should bring
this before the proper persons. "Lieutenant Frederick T. Arnold was
appointed to West Point from Iowa in I893. He graduated from West
Point in 1897 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Sixth
Cavalry. He is-now second lieutenant of Troop H, Fourth Cavalry. I
hope that the proper people of the United States will take hold of
this case and have all torture in these islands stopped. "Well, my
dear uncle, as I have already written so much on this subject, I will
not write about other subjects. I am in fine health, and hope that you
are the same. Give my love to all. "I remain, your loving nephew,
"ANDREW K. WEIR, JR., "Troop C, Fourth United States Cavalry, Balayan,

P. I." Title: Mr. Root must go:
Publication Info: [Philadelphia? : s.n., 1902]