'Torture tunes' to punish Guantanamo inmates?

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, Oct 23: A group of high-profile musicians has demanded that the government release a list of all songs which were played non-stop to torture prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and other detention camps.

Earlier, it was claimed that the theme song of 'Sesame Street', Don McLean's 'American Pie', the Meow Mix jingle and Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' were some of the tunes which were played to punish prisoners.

Dozens of musicians, including members of Pearl Jam, REM and the Roots, endorsed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the declassification of all records related to the use of music in interrogation practices.

They also launched a formal protest of the use of music in conjunction with torture.

"I think every musician should be involved. It seems so obvious. Music should never be used as torture," The Washington Post quoted Rosanne Cash, as saying.

The singer-songwriter said she reacted with 'absolute disgust' when she heard of the practice. "It's beyond the pale. It's hard to even think about."

Other musicians, including Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Tom Morello, formerly of the band Rage Against the Machine, also expressed outrage.

"The fact that music I helped create was used in crimes against humanity sickens me. We need to end torture and close Guantanamo now," Morello was quoted, as saying.

Suzanne G Cusick, a music professor at New York University who is an expert of the use of music as torture in the current wars, said, "Sound at a certain level creates sensory overload and breaks down subjectivity and can [bring about] a regression to infantile behavior. Its effectiveness depends on the constancy of the sound, not the qualities of the music."

Played at a certain volume, she said, "it simply prevents people from thinking."


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