Rage Against Guantanamo

Musicians like Tom Morello and Massive Attack don’t want their music played at military detention centers and are planning moments of silence at their concerts to protest the activity.

Even if the tactic of blasting music at prisoners isn’t recognized as torture, the practice has long been known as an effective tool in interrogation. According to an FBI memo, one interrogator at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, bragged he needed only four days to “break” someone by alternating 16 hours of music and lights with four hours of silence and darkness.

The auditory assault can go on for up to 20 hours a day, with the U.S. military favoring AC/DC, Queen, Pantera, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against The Machine and even “Sesame Street.”

Photo: AP Photo
The U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has new opposition. Some musicians have had enough of the military using their music for torture.

One of the faves is Drowning Pool signature tune “Bodies.” However, the band seems content with the practice.

“People assume we should be offended that somebody in the military thinks our song is annoying enough that played over and over it can psychologically break someone down,” the band’s bassist, Stevie Benton, told Spin magazine. “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.”

RATM’s Morello takes the opposite stance, recently telling an audience that “they [should] level Guantanamo Bay, but keep one small cell and put [President] Bush in there … and they blast some Rage Against The Machine.”

Photo: John Davisson
Lollapalooza, Chicago.

British law group Reprieve, which represents dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees, organized the protest campaign.

The experience was overwhelming to 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 the walls, unable to endure more.

Ruhal Ahmed, a Briton captured in Afghanistan, said when he was at Guantanamo he was forced into a painful squatting position for up to two days while being blasted with music.

“It makes you feel like you are going mad,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Guantanamo’s detention center told the Associated Press the music isn’t used today. However, she didn’t respond when asked whether music might be used in the future.