Friday, October 23, 2009

Rockers Pissed About Guatanamo Bay Music

From the AP wire and Yahoo News today:
Rockers including Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails have joined the National Campaign to Close Guantanamo.

They’re angry at the continuing existence of the prison and the ongoing holding of “detainees” at the facility. Perhaps the rockers are angriest of all at the idea that their music has been used for years to break down detainees’ resistance to interrogation.

Interestingly, the rockers waited until 2009 to voice their anger, unite on the issue and speak out.

From AP: “At Guantanamo, the U.S. government turned a jukebox into an instrument of torture,” said Thomas Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive.

“Based on documents that already have been made public and interviews with former detainees, the archive says the playlist featured cuts from AC/DC, Britney Spears, the Bee Gees, Marilyn Manson and many other groups. The Meow Mix cat food jingle, the Barney theme song and an assortment of Sesame Street tunes also were pumped into detainee cells.”

Barney? Meow Mix? AC/DC? The Bee Gees? Now I can empathize with some of this like Britney Spears (that alone should be classified as torture) and some might say the vibrato of the Brothers Gibb would be painful after a while but, come-on.

Also, according to the AP report: “In one case interrogators played music to "stress" Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a citizen of Mauritania who has been at Guantanamo for more than seven years, because he believed music is forbidden, the report says.”

“Over a 10-day period in July 2003, Slahi was questioned by an interrogator called "Mr. X" while being "exposed to variable lighting patterns" and repeated playing of a song called "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" by the band Drowning Pool, according to the committee's report.”
Now, I’ve never heard of either Drowning Pool or that song and I imagine that it might be some sort of uncomfortable head-banging heavy metal.

My issue has all along been with the notion that these people are there, incommunicado, in the first place under the flimsy rationale that a U.S. military installation in a foreign country is on foreign soil and is consequently not subject to U.S. law or the Constitution—a notion that I’ve always thought was the worst form of legalistic legerdemain.

So, music was played and played loud and these rock stars have just now figured out that it was their music being played. Perhaps they should sic ASCAP on the Pentagon. Perhaps the military should have had it’s “official bands” re-record the music so that they weren’t purloining the recordings of these stars. I can just envision Marilyn Manson being interpreted by the brass and drums of a military marching band.

Jayne Huckerby, research director at New York University's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, received a top secret CIA document dated December 2005 in which the agency explains that the use of loud music or white noise is needed "to mask sound and prevent communication among detainees." If decibel levels are kept at 79 or lower — roughly equivalent to a garbage disposal — detainee hearing won't be damaged, the agency said.

So, with that in mind, maybe it would be beneficial to come up with a list of music which would prove to be effective at getting recalcitrant detainees to “talk”. Music that could be played at or under 79 decibels but would still be incredibly effective at getting into the detainee’s head and ultimately getting them to “talk”.

I’m thinking such musical masterpieces as Celine Deion’s rendering of the theme from “Titanic” or perhaps the most insidious piece of music might be The Captain and Tenille’s version of “Muskrat Love” which was banned at Buckingham Palace two decades ago. What else? How about the Archies doing “Sugar”? Or maybe the Pipkins’ 1971 rendering of “Gimme dat Ding”. Or Napoleon XIV’s famous “They’re Coming to Take Me Away”? And for sheer torture, Ethyl Merman doing “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (or maybe a cross-dressing impersonator).

1 comment:

  1. These articles are fantastic; the information you show us is interesting for everybody and is really good written. It’s just great!! Do you want to know something more? Read it...: Great investment opportunity in Costa Rica