Russell Brand has locked horns with Fox News (again) and taken apart its analysis of the long-awaited Senate report into torture by the CIA.
The 6,000 page document detailed rampant use of waterboarding, threats of sexual violence using a broomstick and the use of "rectal hydration", with interrogations lasting days or even weeks.
Food was sometimes delivered rectally to break hunger strikes. Mock executions, prolonged sleep deprivation, stress positions and other forms of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment were also commonplace during the "enhanced interrogation program" instituted during the George W Bush administration.
In his latest episode of his online news show The Trews, Brand brutally dismantled a segment by Fox anchor Bill Hemmer aired immediately prior to the report's release, attacking the channel’s decision to introduce it against a backdrop of footage from the aftermath of 9/11.
The comedian and activist said: “It’s so amazing that even as they are introducing the item, the still that they show is of 9/11. The question is: Is torture wrong? Here’s a big report revealing just some of the torture that’s taken place… apparently it’s a 6,000 page report, most of its findings will never see the light of day – they’re going to suppress most of it.
“When Fox News introduced that information to you, they show you an image of smashed up Ground Zero 9/11. They’re establishing a correlation between 9/11 and torture in their mind, which is convenient to their narrative. “
Fox then featured comment from former CIA director Michael Hayden who insisted: “This [report] will be used by our enemies to motivate people to attack America and Americans and American facilities overseas, I am genuinely concerned by that.”
Cut to KT McFarland, former deputy defence secretary during the Reagan administration, who predicted: “It will have two blockbusters – one that the United States intelligence committee committed torture on terror suspects and number two – that the information gleaned from that torture was not effective.”
Mimicking her, Brand retorted: “No big deal! We’ve been torturing people … oh that’s terrible! But I suppose you did what you had to do. That’s right… so what was the result of all your torture? It doesn’t work. Sorry?"
As Hemmer then asks why the report was released at all, Brand shrieks in a faux American accent: “That’s his question! So why oh why would you want to tell us that the CIA, a powerful international agency funded by the American taxpayer is torturing people for no reason – why would anyone want to know that?”
Composing himself, he continues: “The reason is we’re meant to have some semblance of transparency and democracy. Wouldn’t you like to know what people are doing, they’re in charge of us, at this time and they continue to increase their powers and their abilities to snoop on us, their abilities to detain us, they’re abilities to have trade agreements around the world that prevent us from having any control over our own lives.
"The problem is not that the report has been released. The problem is there’s not more reports like it. And the problem is people are being pointlessly tortured around the globe.”
Aping McFarland, Brand continues: “Do you want us to not be trusted by the Belgian CIA or the Luxembourg CIA? Or the Sri Lankan CIA? Right, then let us get on with raping and mock executing people who may have done nothing wrong.
“Fox news are amazing that they will brazenly go on television and defend the oppression of the people of America.
"What this story shows is that of course the CIA are acting in an unaccountable, clandestine and terrifying way and that the media are supporting them in that.
“And we’ve got no access, no purchase to power – when you hear a story like this which exposes massive media organisations like Fox News, owned by News International, that owns The Sun are untrustworthy, the CIA are terrifying, you think 'What can we do?’”
Fox's negative reaction to the decision to publish the report has been particularly sustained, with the channel’s Outnumbered panel arguing it was only released for political reasons, for example to shift focus away from Obamacare failures.
Co-host Andrea Tantaros said: “I don’t think they need to give me a lot of transparency at the CIA. Thousands of Americans were killed after 9/11, the Bush administration did what the American public wanted and that was ‘do whatever it takes to keep us safe.’
“These terror tactics have been stopped because as a country we have decided we are better than this – we stop them. Which is my point – why are we putting out this memo? We’ve had this discussion, we’ve had this debate, it’s not about democracy now, no no, it’s about politics.”