Comedian John Oliver returned to his critique of the post-9/11 CIA torture programme on his Sunday show, enlisting Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren to voice an "audiobook" of the unclassified 500-page report that "no one has read."
On the issue of forced rectal rehydration, Oliver noted the details are so graphic, “not even Mirren can make them sound appealing.” Cue the star of “The Queen” reading out the following:
“Majid Khan’s ‘lunch tray’ consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused.”
Oliver revealed that 57% of Americans still think torture techniques provided “reliable intelligence.” However, the report concludes that the tactics were “ineffective,” despite claims by the CIA.
“Maybe the reason so many people innately believe that torture works is because it does, on TV, all the time,” said Oliver. “Torture works on '24' and in the movies because it has to. It’s a dramatic device to move the plot along. But ask terror experts and they’ll tell you it’s one of those movie tropes that has no basis in real life.”
Oliver attacked the examples of Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, often cited by defenders of “enhanced interrogation” as instances where torture led to usable intelligence. They did not, according to the report.
“There is no proof torture does any good, but there is real proof it does serious harm to America’s image overseas,” the comedian continued. “References to American torture show up everywhere, from terrorist recruiting tools to official statements from North Korea, who call our techniques ‘brutally medieval.’”
Oliver concludes by noting the only legislation stopping the country from returning to torture is “one easily reversible executive order” by Barack Obama. Unsurprisingly, most 2016 presidential candidates ignored the question when asked by the show whether they would keep that executive order in place.
“America should not be a country that tortures people because it is brutal, it is medieval and it is beneath us,” he said.