John Oliver Enlists Helen Mirren To Read The CIA Torture Report

Wendy Stokesby:


This week, on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver discussed the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA Torture Report, which pretty much no one has read, including people in the CIA who probably should.

In hopes of getting people to actually read a few passages, Oliver invited Helen Mirren to read a few passages out loud, including a particularly disturbing one about “rectal feeding” and another about a man who died of hypothermia after having been mistakenly detained by people who thought he was somewhere else.

Oliver points out that a large percentage of people in this country–57%–believe that torture works, despite empirical evidence that it does not. Like, it really, really does not and often leads to false information–you know, because people are just really trying to stop the rectal feeding.

He posits that the reason people believe that it works is due to the influence of television shows like 24 in which Jack Bauer repeatedly saves the world through the use of torture–a theory bolstered by the fact that Antonin Scalia actually used the show as a justification for torture. Or rather, “enhanced interrogation techniques” as they like to refer to it.

I do think that’s a big part of it, I also think it is something that just intrinsically makes people feel good, and like something is getting done. People feel like it works, and they also dislike the idea of not being horrible to people who may be plotting terror attacks against us.

However, given the fact that these methods have by and large been proven not to work, perhaps these people could just get their torture jones satisfied by watching some 24 instead.

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