Responses from a survey of 493 FBI personnel, asked whether they observed aggressive mistreatment, interrogations or interview techniques in Guantanamo, have shown that music has been used in a variety of ways to psychologically 'break' detainees, including combinations of sleep deprivation, strobe lights and loud music.
One interrogator said it would take four days to break someone by interrogating them for 16 hours with lights and music on and four hours off. Rumors abound of interrogators making detainees listen to metal music for hours then dressing as a priest and baptizing the detainee to 'save' them.
In a different scenario, extreme heat was combined with loud rap music while the detainee lay in a fetal position on the floor with his hand and foot chained.
The tactic has been used in the US' 'war on terror' since approximately 2003. It is thought that inmates who grew up under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan - when music was banned - are particularly affected by exposure to loud music.
Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor wrote on his blog this week that it is difficult to imagine "anything more profoundly insulting, demeaning and enraging than discovering music you’ve put your heart and soul into creating has been used for purposes of torture".
"If there are any legal options that can be realistically taken they will be aggressively pursued, with any potential monetary gains donated to human rights charities," he said.
On the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, musicians are uniting against this heinous misuse of music by joining the Zero dB project (zero decibels = silence). The project represents over 30 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and aims to stop torture music by encouraging widespread condemnation of the practice and by calling on governments and the United Nations to uphold and enforce the Convention Against Torture and other relevant treaties.
The project 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 organising the campaign.
The UN and the European Court of Human Rights have banned the use of loud music in interrogations, but it is still being widely used. Prisoners describe the experience as harder to bear than physical torture.
Music that has been used to torture includes:
• AC/DC - Hell's Bells
• AC/DC - Shoot to Thrill
• Barney the Purple Dinosaur - theme tune
• Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
• Britney Spears
• Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA
• Christina Aguilera - Dirrty
• David Gray - Babylon
• Deicide - Fuck Your God
• Don McLean - American Pie
• Dope - Die MF Die
• Dope - Take Your Best Shot
• Dr. Dre
• Drowning Pools - Bodies
• Eminem - Kim
• Eminem - Slim Shady
• Eminem - White America
• Li'l Kim
• Limp Bizkit
• Matchbox Twenty - Gold
• Meat Loaf
• Metallica - Enter Sandman
• Neil Diamond - America
• Nine Inch Nails - March of the Pigs
• Nine Inch Nails - Mr. Self-Destruct
• Prince - Raspberry Beret
• Queen - We are The Champions
• Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name Of
• Red Hot Chilli Peppers
• Saliva - Click Click Boom
• Sesame Street - theme tune
• Tupac - All Eyes on Me
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