Darius Rejali, a professor of political science at Portland's Reed College, has a new book out, Torture and Democracy. His disturbing thesis is that democracies, not dictators, have done the real innovating in torture devices, including waterboarding. Rejali writes, in an essay in The Boston Globe, that we delude ourselves in thinking that torture is "the method of the enemy," or that it disappeared in the modern age. Seattle, too played a role: Early 20th-century America was a breeding ground for new ideas in electric torture, many documented by American Bar Association investigators in their 1931 Report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement. Between 1922 and 1926, the Seattle police chief got his confessions from a cell with a wall-to-wall electrified carpet. "The prisoner leaps, screaming in agony, into the air....It is not fatal, its effects are not lasting, and it leaves no marks," remarked the ABA report. The British pioneered the use of forced standing techniques, later associated with Stalin's secret police. The modern use of waterboarding is traced back to American troops in the Phillippines, and it was broght to the American South by returning soldiers. Rejali notes that once torture is exposed to the public, it tends to go away, as happened in America between 1930 and 1950, after an ABA report in 1931 detailed abuses. The French, after bad abuses in the 1960s as they fought colonial wars, reformed and now have a far better human rights record. Once torture comes to public light, those governments tend to reform, or get voted out of office.