US bands blast use of music in Guantanamo interrogations

October 22, 2009

WASHINGTON - A group of top US acts including REM and Pearl Jam on Thursday expressed outrage that loud music was being blasted at Guantanamo detainees as part of "terror" interrogations.

They said they were filing a lawsuit in a bid to declassify documents on the use of the music, and joining the "National Campaign to Close Guantanamo" which was launched by former US military generals and lawmakers hoping to shut the prison at the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The musicians launched "a formal protest of the use of music used in conjunction with torture that took place at the prison and other facilities and announced they were supporting an effort seeking the declassification of all secret government records pertaining to how music was utilized as an interrogation device," the group said.

The musicians include Trent Reznor and Tom Morello, whose music with the bands Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine have already been linked to interrogations at the prison, according to previously released government records.

"Guantanamo is known around the world as one of the places where human beings have been tortured -- from waterboarding to stripping, hooding and forcing detainees into humiliating sexual acts -- playing music for 72 hours in a row at volumes just below that to shatter the eardrums," said Morello.

"Guantanamo may be Dick Cheney's idea of America, but it's not mine. The fact that music I helped create was used in crimes against humanity sickens me," he added.

Retired general Robert Gard said he sympathized with the musicians "whose music was used without their knowledge as part of the Bush administration's misguided policies."

A 2004 Defense Department report cited by the group detailed an interrogation method known as the "futility" technique, which included playing the music of Metallica and Britney Spears to detainees.

President Barack Obama vowed on his second day in office to shutter the facility, a magnet for global criticism of US tactics in the Bush administration's "war on terror," by January 22, though White House aides say they face an uphill fight to keep that promise.




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