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last week tonight

John Oliver delivers some painful truths about U.S. torture policy

This is a heavy topic. Luckily, Helen Mirren is here to help.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw


Posted on Jun 15, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 2:23 pm CDT

Every Sunday night, we tune into Last Week Tonight in search of a good laugh, and every time, John Oliver hits us with a report that makes us question the basic competence—or even the humanity—of people in government.

This week, Oliver covered the U.S. Senate‘s report on CIA torture during the Bush administration, a topic that few people enjoy discussing in depth. The report, released last year, revealed the agency’s horrifyingly brutal methods—and the even worse news is that our current laws against torture are flimsy at best. While President Obama did sign an executive order blocking the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” the next president can easily reverse this by withdrawing the EO.

On Sunday, after discussing the current U.S. stance toward torture, Oliver revealed that only four of the many 2016 GOP presidential candidates have explicitly said that they’d retain Obama’s no-torture executive order.

Not even Helen Mirren can make us feel better about this one.

Screengrab via Last Week Tonight/YouTube

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*First Published: Jun 15, 2015, 7:43 am CDT