Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dick Cheney To Open Guantanamo Bay Yoga Retreat

by Benjo

An amazing report about the former Vice President's next project:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, growing nostalgic for his purview over the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, has decided, in the free time he now enjoys as a private citizen, to open the Guantanamo Bay Yoga Retreat in his native Wyoming. The center, which is said to be the first yoga retreat in history to be surrounded by barb wire, is set to open this fall.

The retreat will teach a new discipline of yoga, authorized by Cheney, called Sivitanga, which roughly translates to Enhanced Interrogation Yoga Techniques. Like Bikram Yoga, Sivitanga is practiced at high temperatures. But while Bikram's 100-degree temperatures are intended to maximize blood circulation and calorie burning, Sivitanga is practiced at 225 degrees, so that its practitioners might be boiled alive.

While only four of the 22 students who took part in Sivitanga test sessions last week passed away as a result of the heat, session coordinator Anya Delylo predicted that that number would rise after the retreat opened. “These test sessions were conducted with some of the nation's finest yogis. As we accept students at Gitmo Yoga whose bodies are less toned, it is inevitable that many will reach terminal nirvana, or death, as a result of the sessions.”

The harshness of the techniques has resulted in criticism for Cheney's retreat even before it has opened.

“Let's call these disgusting techniques what they are: yoga,” said Red Cross spokesman Robert Bonner. “When the Khmer Rouge lined up dissidents in the streets and had them do the Bound Butterfly, it was yoga. When Mao took scholars out to the countryside and forced them to assume the Cobra Pose, it was yoga. This whole notion that it's yoga when other countries do it, but not when we do, is preposterous.”

The Red Cross teamed with other human rights organizations around the world in publishing an open letter calling on President Obama to ban Sivitanga, insisting that it violates the terms of the UN Convention on Yoga.

Cheney vehemently denied that the techniques constitute yoga, insisting that the word was used ironically in the name of his retreat. “The United States does not commit yoga. Period. These techniques were carried out in a manner that was humane, well-monitored, and conducive to increasing flexibility while improving general health.”

Student Ashley James, of Los Angeles, concurred. “I loved loved loved the waterboarding pose,” she said. “With all that heat in the room, it feels so good to have a little water sprinkled on you." James continued, "All of the survivors—or students, or whatever—were talking after the session, and we all agreed this is the most incredible kind of yoga we've ever taken part in. I just wish there was a Sivitanga studio near my apartment. If I could do Sivitanga after work and hit Jamba Juice on the way home? Ugh, it would be heaven on earth.”

Rose McDonald, of the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, agreed with Ms. James. “These new techniques are amazing. The limb-stretching exercises, and just the strain of being shackled for hours at a time, really helped me to get those last few pounds off after the pregnancy.”

According to one former advisor to the Vice President, Cheney decided to set up a yoga center within the week following the attacks of September 11. Another official close to the former Vice President suggested that, following his exit from public office, Cheney became obsessed with the idea that there was a connection between 9/11 and yoga instructors.

This account squares with descriptions of sitings of the former Vice President at the test sessions. “I saw him wandering through the hallway, all crazy-eyed,” said Will Rudy. “He was approaching every yoga instructor he saw—with his eyes, seriously, like darts—trying to get them to cough up information on where Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were hidden.”

“I can't get over how creepy it was looking into those eyes,” Rudy said. “It was, like, torture.”

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