Khmer Rouge Tortured Westerners, Papers Show

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Confined to a cramped cell in a Khmer Rouge torture center in 1978, James Clark neatly wrote a confession that included tales of spying on Cambodia for the Central Intelligence Agency.

"The key country to watch in Southeast Asia is Cambodia, the most successful communist country," the 35-year-old Minneapolis native remarked in one passage, playing to the egos of his Khmer Rouge tormentors in hopes of being released.

"The CIA has men all over Southeast Asia to keep up with the political events there. Even though I was caught, there will be someone else to do the job. The CIA must know what is happening."

After completing the coerced biography, Clark signed and thumb-printed a typed copy for his tormenters. Then, like a half-dozen other hapless Westerners captured by the Khmer Rouge during their nightmarish rule between 1975 and 1979, Clark was killed.

Their executioner at the Tuol Sleng torture center, Kaing Khek Iev, surfaced in Cambodia last month. Now a born-again Christian, the center's former director says he is willing to face trial for his murderous past and to testify against his superiors.

In an interview with this week's edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review magazine, Kaing Khek Iev - known by his revolutionary name Duch - described how his chief interrogator tortured the Westerners with electric shocks for a month.

In general, Duch said, he played carrot-and-stick with his victims, who numbered at least 14,000 men, women and children.

"I knew from experience that if they were only tortured they wouldn't say anything," Duch told the Review. "So I told them they would be released if they talked. This was a lie, but it worked."

Records kept at Tuol Sleng, now a genocide museum, reveal 11 names of Westerners. Some may be imaginary, given by the terrified captives to meet their captors' demands for accomplices.

They include Clark and Michael Scott Deeds, of Long Beach, Calif., two Americans whose yacht strayed into Cambodian waters in 1978.

Fellow Americans Christopher Edward DeLance and Lance McNamara are also in the records. Their hometowns were not immediately known.

So are Australians David Lloyd Scott and Ronald Keith Dean, Briton John Dawson Dewhirst, New Zealander Kerry George Hamill and French brothers Rovin and Harad Bernard and their compatriot, Andre Gaston.

A British Foreign Office spokesman said Duch's confession emphasized the need for an international tribunal "to bring those most responsible for the Khmer Rouge reign of terror to justice."