John Oliver and Helen Mirren destroy Americans’ fairy-tale belief in torture with horrifying children’s tales
On HBO’s Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took up the unpleasant, and unfortunately mostly ignored, topic of torture in America done under the auspices of the CIA.
Noting that the Senate Intelligence Committee released a 6,700-page investigation of torture, with a 500-page version available to the public, Oliver sought to explain that Americans need to read the available version because they have been “dangerously misinformed” about torture.
With a CBS poll showing the 69 percent of Americans believing that waterboarding is torture and 57 percent believing “aggressive” interrogation techniques help stop terrorist attacks, Oliver set out to point out that not only doesn’t torture work — it may make a comeback since it is only restricted by executive order, which can be tossed out by the next president.
With the help of British actress Helen Mirren, Oliver compared the reality of torture to the version most American’s believe from television shows like “24.”
With Mirren reading from the report about “rectal rehydration” — in the case of one detainee who was force fed a meal of hummus, pasta, nuts, and raisins pureed and introduced rectally — an aghast Oliver challenged his viewers to “try not to think about that the next time you eat hummus.”
“I feel like I should preemptively apologize to the Sabra hummus brand, because your sales are about to drop quite noticeably,” he said.
Attempting to lighten the mood after reporting on one innocent detainee who died of hypothermia after being beaten and chained to a wall, Oliver had Mirren read from “The Tales of Peter Rabbit” … only for the story to take a horrible turn.
“But while Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-Tail were on their way to pick blackberries, Peter was chained to a wall in Farmer McGregor’s basement. He’d been badly beaten, and a tray of carrots and raisins had been pureed and rectally infused,” she read to a horrified Oliver.
“Helen Mirren, I’m going to say what everyone has said about you for years: You’re a monster,” the host said.
Watch the video below, uploaded to YouTube by Last Week Tonight: