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Seventh in a series

In the second part of this series on the Yoo torture memo, I pointed out that the absence of the Youngstown Steel case was a conspicuous sign that the memo had no validity. Well, over the weekend, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse brought another case to my attention in a speech he gave to a criminal justice retreat.  He mentions it as well on his own webpage.

The case is called U.S. v. Lee, and it involves the prosecution of several Sheriff’s Deputies in Texas for waterboarding people they had arrested in an effort to induce those detainees to confess to crimes.

Yep, you read that right, the Department of Justice has actually prosecuted folks who used waterboarding to induce confessions. Oh, and convicted them.  And had those convictions sustained on appeal.

Carl Lee was jointly tried with three fellow San Jacinto County, Texas law enforcement officers on charges of violating and conspiring to violate the civil rights of prisoners in their custody.

Gee, that sounds just like the quote from the Indictment PatFitz brought a couple days after the Yoo memo became public against that cop who beat an arrestee in his custody. I detailed that in the Yoo, Scalia and Fitzgerald post earlier in this series.

Lee was indicted along with two other deputies, Floyd Baker and James Glover, and the County Sheriff, James Parker, based on a number of incidents in which prisoners were subjected to a "water torture" in order to prompt confessions to various crimes.

Got that Messrs Yoo and Mukasey?  Waterboarding is TORTURE; the Court of Appeals said so and the case has not been overturned by SCOTUS.

Oh, and it gets better:

At trial, Baker’s defense as developed by his counsel and his testimony rested on two points. The first was that he actively participated in only a single torture episode, and then only because ordered to do so by his superiors–a "Nuremberg defense." The second was that while he believed the torture of prisoners immoral, he did not at the time think it was illegal.

[emphasis mine]

Aye yup, thinking torture is not illegal is no defense. So, I guess that all important "the Yoo memos are a fig leaf that will save the interrogators from prosecution" defense is looking a bit shaky at this point.

Senator Whitehouse is right, this case is VERY conspicuous in its absence from the Yoo memo.

[Editor's note: The photo atop the post, by takomabibelot, features a banner created and designed by Firedoglake reader BonnieT of Austin, Texas, where she operates OpposeTorture.org.]