Monday, November 07, 2005

CIA Subjecting Detainees to Sitcom Torture

Agents using "dangerous" doses of laugh tracks, Urkel

Stacked, starring Pamela Anderson, is one of the sitcoms allegedly used to torture terror detainees.

WASHINGTON - In the latest of a stunning series of revelations on tactics being used in the War on Terror, a new story alleges that American interrogators are subjecting terror suspects to sitcom abuse.

Seymour Hersh, writing for The New Yorker, broke the story. According to sources at both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense, American officials have subjected detainees to hours and hours of stale setups, horrific punch lines, and endless streams of canned laughter.

Detainees are usually put in a stress position, strapped into an easy chair with the remote barely out of their reach. Interrogators offer to let them change the channel in exchange for information.

"You would be amazed at how quickly they break," said one Defense Intelligence Agency official who wished to remain anonymous. "After back-to-back episodes of Two and a Half Men, these guys are practically begging to drive us to their next sleeper cell meeting."

Two and a Half Men stars Charlie Sheen as an actor looking for a permanent cure for herpes.

Stacked, in which Pamela Anderson plays a bookstore employee, is particularly effective at eliciting confessions, said the Defense Department source. "Usually, they start saying something like, ‘this is ridiculous, this woman would never work in a bookstore.’ Then they start criticizing the cliched casting of the heavier brunette girl as the wisecracking comic foil to Ms. Anderson. By the third act, they’re having seizures and soiling themselves."

The story came to light after three prisoners allegedly committed suicide while enduring a marathon session of The Ropers. "There were supposed to be controls in place," said an anonymous CIA agent. "No early Fox sitcoms, no talking puppets, and absolutely no Norman Fell. But that’s what happens when you start to bend the rules. Before you know it, you’re taping up a guy’s eyelids so he can’t blink during Small Wonder."

In his story, Hersh also interviewed several psychiatric experts about the long-term side effects of bad sitcom interrogation.

"The human brain can only absorb so many bad jokes," said Professor Roy Hinkley of New York’s Sherwood Schwartz Institute. "Over a sustained period of time, our research has shown that a steady stream of contrived fish-out-of-water scenarios and butt jokes can actually inflict irreparable damage to the humor sensors.

"Plus they cause anal warts in laboratory animals."

The White House refused to confirm or deny Hersh’s story. Referencing one of the shows mentioned by Hersh’s sources, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, "Even if this story was true, I don’t see the issue," he said. "After all, dozens of people have watched Herman’s Head with no ill effects."

While none of his sources would go on record stating so, Hersh says that the government is covertly supporting certain sitcoms specifically for the interrogation program. "There’s a reason why Joey is still in production, and it’s not for entertainment purposes."

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