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Guantanamo Bay Torture Playlist

October 28th 2009 22:50
Everyone knows (or at least I assume they do) that the CIA implemented music from various artists to torture detainees at Guantanamo Bay. They would force an inmate to listen to a song at a high decibel level for several hours to several days. One released detainee claims he was forced to listen "The Real Slim Shady" for twenty days straight. After a ton of negative publicity, and being "reminded" that using music as torture directly violates the U.N.'s Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, they finally halted the practice of using music as an instrument (no pun intended) of torture.

Guantanamo Bay Detainee
Detainee's daily 'outside' period

But some artists are still pissed that, without permission or even notification, they may have been on the Guantanamo playlist. Trent Reznor, David Byrne, the Roots, R.E.M., and Pearl Jam are among a group of over a dozen artists demanding, under the Freedom of Information Act, that the records be released showing which songs were played. They filed a suit, headed by former Rep. Tom Andrews, to finally know for certain which songs were played. As it stands now, a total of 35 bands/songs are known to have been implemented by the CIA for use as an "enhanced interrogation technique." They were confirmed through a 2005 investigation, and by interviews with released prisoners. They are:

"Barney" theme song
Bee Gees
Britney Spears
Bruce Springsteen
Christina Aguilera
David Gray
Don McLean
Drowning Pool
Hed P.E.
James Taylor
Limp Bizkit
Marilyn Manson
Matchbox Twenty
Meat Loaf
Meow Mix jingle
Neil Diamond
Nine Inch Nails
Rage Against the Machine
Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Sesame Street" theme
Stanley Brothers
"The Star-Spangled Banner"
Tupac Shakur

None of these artists deserve to have their music be used for torture. Not even Britney Spears, though her music would be highly effective. Unfortunately, aside from simply learning who is on the playlist, I don't think there's much these artists can do. I mean they could try to demand royalties, but that's about it. And it would seem a bit hypocritical to me to demand money for indirectly torturing people. Maybe that's just me, but either way, musicians across the nation at least deserve to know if their music was used to bring suffering upon others. I fully support their quest to declassify the records that would finally end all speculation of which songs were used as devices of torture.

By the way, I find it absolutely hilarious that someone thought of using the Meow Mix song.

And I think it's unbelievably ironic in so many ways that "The Star-Spangled Banner" was also used. First of all, Francis Scott Key wrote it on the way to negotiate the release of a prisoner who was a friend of his, and now it's being used to torture prisoners. And I mean, looking at the lyrics, it seems to me that this song is completely against torture. It's all about the joys of freedom: and torture and imprisonment are the opposite of freedom. And it's about bravery--that we should only fight "when our cause it is just." Torture is never justified. And it's never brave to torture. If you can win a war without stooping to the lowest common denominator (AKA torture) that is true bravery. Committing human rights violations is never brave. But standing up for those who's rights have been violated always is.

OK, I'll get off my high horse now.

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2 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Norm

October 28th 2009 23:05
Watch out Keith McDougall.

The Australian National Anthem. Now that's torture.

I can see boot-leg cds being advertised on late night tv. "20 songs to confess your involvement in terrorist activity to".

Comment by Mr. Bean II

October 31st 2009 02:36
That's hilarious norm. I'd totally buy one.

Anyway, last night the Colbert Report did a whole segment on this exact same topic. So I guess you could say I'm more cutting edge than Steven Colbert.

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