Music torture by Bush regime

This video from Britain says about itself:

Reprieve has launched a new initiative called Pull the Plug – to expose and stop the use of torture music against prisoners of the ‘war on terror.’

Here, former Guantanamo prisoner Ruhal Ahmed describes his experience of being tortured by earsplitting music in the hands of the US authorities.

From the New York Times in the USA:

March 9, 2009, 11:05 am

Claim U.S. Used Eminem Raps on Detainees

By Robert Mackey

In an interview with the British newspaper The Mail on Sunday, Binyam Mohamed, who was recently released from the United States detention camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, discussed his treatment while in American custody and renewed his claim that he was tortured.

In the interview, Mr. Mohamed described in detail some of the treatment he says he endured while being held and interrogated in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan before being sent to Guantánamo Bay.

According to Mr. Mohamed, the worst part of his seven years in captivity was not being slashed with a scalpel in Morocco, but the time he spent at “a secret C.I.A. prison in Afghanistan” in 2004, where, he said, he was kept in total darkness 24 hours a day, while being forced to listen to a single rap album played over and over again at high volume:

There were loudspeakers in the cell, pumping out what felt like about 160 watts, a deafening volume, non-stop, 24 hours a day. They played the same CD for a month, “The Eminem Show.” It’s got about 20 songs on it, and when it was finished, it went back to the beginning and started again.

While that was happening, a lot of the time, for hour after hour, they had me shackled. Sometimes it was in a standing position, with my wrists chained to the top of the door frame. Sometimes they were chained in the middle, at waist level, and sometimes they were chained at the bottom, on the floor.

The longest was when they chained me for eight days on end, in a position that meant I couldn’t stand straight nor sit. I couldn’t sleep. I had no idea whether it was day or night.

Mr. Mohamed also told The Mail’s interviewer, David Rose: “In Kabul I lost my head. It felt like it was never going to end and that I had ceased to exist.” It was, he added, “a miracle my brain is still intact.”

While there is no obvious answer to the question, why Eminem?, the blogger Daniel Radosh pointed out in another context that “The Eminem Show” does contain references to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In the song “My Dad’s Gone Crazy,” for instance, Eminem raps about flying planes and attacking high towers, before claiming that there is “more pain inside of my brain/ than the eyes of a little girl inside of a plane/ aimed at the World Trade.”

Eminem, of course, like any decent human, opposes the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Attacks in which not any Iraqi, or any Afghan, participated. Eminem also is an opponent of George W. Bush and his wars. So, using Eminem music for torture is adding insult to international crime by the Bush regime.

The use of loud music by the U.S. military has been reported before.

In 1989, when U.S. forces in Panama were trying to force Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega to leave his sanctuary in the Vatican’s diplomatic mission in Panama City and surrender, they blasted loud rock music from speakers outside the Nunciature. The New York Times’s Robert Suro reported at the time that Vatican officials “said the apparent effort at psychological warfare was ‘ludicrous’ and ‘childish.’”

In 2003, Adam Piore of Newsweek, while traveling with soldiers from the United States military’s Psychological Operations Command (known as Psyops) in Iraq, witnessed American soldiers blasting Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” into shipping containers where detainees were held. In the May 19, 2003 issue of Newsweek, Mr. Piore wrote that a member of the Psyops unit described the tactic as part of an effort to “break down” the detainees:

The idea, explains Sgt. Mark Hadsell, is to break down a subject’s resistance through sleep deprivation and annoyance with music that is as culturally offensive and terrifying as possible. Hadsell’s personal favorites include “Bodies” from the “XXX” soundtrack and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” “These people haven’t heard heavy metal before,” he explained. “They can’t take it. If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That’s when we come in and talk to them.”

The kind of stress Mr. Mohamed says he endured in [sic; “is”] no laughing matter, and the military clearly takes the treatment seriously enough that it has been reportedly been used at Guantánamo Bay, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But since the idea that being forced to listen to a certain song or record can be described as “torture” often strikes people hearing about it as funny, reports of the tactic are often cast in a comic light.

Mr. Piore later told the British writer Jon Ronson that when he called his editor at Newsweek from Iraq to describe the use of loud music on detainees, “I was told to write it as a humorous thing.” After Mr. Piore filed his report, Newsweek stressed the fact that one of the songs blared at detainees in Iraq was the theme from the children’s television show “Barney” and added a comic kicker to his the [sic] story:

The sledgehammer riffs of Metallica, that’s understandable. But can children’s songs really break a strong mind? (Two current favorites are the “Sesame Street” theme song and the crooning purple dinosaur Barney — for 24 hours straight.) In search of comment from Barney’s people, Hit Entertainment, Newsweek endured five minutes of Barney while on hold. Yes, it broke us, too.

Bob Singleton, author of the Barney song, does not agree with the Newsweek bigwigs’ pseudo-humour on this; the abuse of his song for torture fits in with any music becoming unbearable if played loudly and for a long time, he wrote.

In Jon Ronson’s book on the American military’s development and use of psychological operations, “The Men Who Stare at Goats” (soon to be a major motion picture, starring George Clooney, Kevin Spacey and Ewan McGregor), he writes that while loud music was used on detainees in Guantánamo, other sorts or sounds were deployed as well, often in puzzling ways.

Jamal al-Harith, another British man who was released from Guantánamo, told Mr. Ronson that recordings of loud screeches and bangs, “jumbled noises,” were played by his interrogators — and also that at one stage during his interrogation, he was asked to listen to songs played at normal volume for no apparent reason. According to Mr. Harith, an interrogator baffled him by playing CDs including one by a Fleetwood Mac cover band, another with a selection of Kris Kristofferson’s greatest hits, and an album by Matchbox Twenty. As Mr. Ronson notes in his book, Matchbox Twenty was one of the bands Mr. Piore found listed on the PsyOps playlist in Iraq.

See also here.

Rockers to Press Obama on Music Torture: here.

Still no free speech in Afghanistan: here.

13 thoughts on “Music torture by Bush regime

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  10. Pingback: Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer disgusted about CIA torture abuse of his music | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Do not take it personally, if the CIA, played The Star Spangled Banner or God Save The Queen, it would be as effective as anything else as torture, at a guess the two mentioned songs may well be the greater torture.


  12. Pingback: CIA torture scandal, new information | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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