[OPE] Killing Me Softly With Your Songs: a Safe Liberal Issue?

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Fri Apr 24 2009 - 15:50:45 EDT

Paul Krugman: "This government does not torture people," declared former President Bush, but it did, and all the world knows it. And the only way we can regain our moral compass, not just for the sake of our position in the world, but for the sake of our own national conscience, is to investigate how that happened, and, if necessary, to prosecute those responsible. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/opinion/24krugman.html?_r=1

----- Original Message -----
From: Jurriaan Bendien
To: OPE@lists.csuchico.edu
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 11:24 PM
Subject: Killing Me Softly With Your Songs: the musicians' revolt against music torture

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) -- Blaring from a speaker behind a metal grate in his tiny cell in Iraq, the blistering rock from Nine Inch Nails hit Prisoner No. 200343 like a sonic bludgeon.

"Stains like the blood on your teeth," Trent Reznor snarled over distorted guitars. "Bite. Chew." The auditory assault went on for days, then weeks, then months at the U.S. military detention center in Iraq. Twenty hours a day. AC/DC. Queen. Pantera.

The prisoner, military contractor Donald Vance of Chicago, told The Associated Press he was soon suicidal.

The tactic has been common in the U.S. war on terror, with forces systematically using loud music on hundreds of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the U.S. military commander in Iraq, authorized it on Sept. 14, 2003, "to create fear, disorient ... and prolong capture shock."

Now the detainees aren't the only ones complaining. Musicians are banding together to demand the U.S. military stop using their songs as weapons.

A campaign being launched Wednesday has brought together groups including Massive Attack and musicians such as Tom Morello, who played with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave and is now on a solo tour. It will feature minutes of silence during concerts and festivals, said Chloe Davies of the British law group Reprieve, which represents dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees and is organizing the campaign. At least Vance, who says he was jailed for reporting illegal arms sales, was used to rock music. For many detainees who grew up in Afghanistan - where music was prohibited under Taliban rule - interrogations by U.S. forces marked their first exposure to the pounding rhythms, played at top volume.

The experience was overwhelming for many. Binyam Mohammed, now a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, said men held with him at the CIA's "Dark Prison" in Afghanistan wound up screaming and smashing their heads against walls, unable to endure more. "There was loud music, (Eminem's) 'Slim Shady' and Dr. Dre for 20 days. I heard this nonstop over and over," he told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith. "The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night for the months before I left. Plenty lost their minds." (...) http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CB_PRISONERS_TORMENT_BY_MUSIC?SITE=TXHAR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Songs most used by the US military as a form of torture:

* Enter Sandman, Metallica.
* Bodies, Drowning Pool.
* Shoot to Thrill, AC/DC.
* Hell's Bells, AC/DC.
* I Love You, from the Barney and Friends children's TV show.
* Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen.
* Babylon, David Gray.
* White America, Eminem.
* Sesame Street, theme song from the children's TV show.

Other bands and artists whose music has been played at US detention sites: Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Don McLean, Lil' Kim, Limp Bizkit, Meat Loaf, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tupac Shakur. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10547501&pnum=3

Inevitably, this practice also begets a musical response, e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQjxtqzQf40 Another comment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EuIlAiFWQc


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