Man, there's so much to fix with the upcoming administration. Why does it feel like a sheepish sort of revolution, with talk of secret prisons closing and abuses of government being corrected?
According to the copyright restrictions it so zealously preserves, the United States still owes royalty payments on the hours and hours (and hours) of music it has used to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq. But their lax enforcement of U.S. law while breaking international law is more indicative of their bad attitude than the main focus when torture is concerned.
Reprieve, a British human rights law group that represents over 30 Guantanamo Bay detainees, is planning to work with musicians to lobby President-elect Barack Obama to end the practice of sonic torture by military interrogators.
Earlier this month, Reprieve and the U.K. Musicians Union launched Zero dB, a "silent protest" over the use of music in interrogations. According to Reprieve, many of its clients have been subjected to hours of music played at deafening volume -- sometime for days or even weeks on end. And the BBC has reported on a particularly insidious practice: using the theme songs from Sesame Street and Barney [as well as to break the will of prisoners.
This has musicians furious. Last week, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails even suggested he might pursue legal action to stop the practice.
A partial list of some of the interrogators' favorite tracks is telling (emphasis added):
• “Enter Sandman,” Metallica.
• “Bodies,” Drowning Pool. [Whose idiot bassist said "I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that."]
• “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. [I guess "Kidnapped to Cuba" isn't as catchy]
• “Babylon,” David Gray.
• “White America,” Eminem. [Way to be subtle, ya little skinheads] • “Sesame Street,” theme song from the children’s TV show.”
I prefer the term "sonic torture" over "music torture" or whatever idiot term our guvmint has probably invented (probably something like "aural interrogation") because it's not music these people are familiar with, or "music" in any way that you'd normally experience music. It's just sound blasted at a body, and after a half-dozen hours I'm certain it all coalesces into a thick sludge of despair and tuneless garbage that destroys you more than it makes you want to cooperate with anybody.
Anybody who says that this isn't torture obviously hasn't ever felt their body, mind and soul fall apart from stress or lack of sleep. It's much, much worse than having a fingernail pulled out.
Hey - so maybe "Drowning Pool" isn't such a bad choice after all!
Rockers to Press Obama on Music Torture (Wired)