Sunday, February 9, 2014

GITMO Top 40

Skinny Puppy, a Canadian Electronic-Industrial band has sent a bill for $666,000 to the US government for its use of their music as part of interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

ABC News

In statements to the Guantanamo Testimonial Project a guard referred to a well over six foot tall, two hundred and fifty pount interrogator as the "Ogre".

Another time I walked in an interrogation shack and noticed that the ogre was playing TFWO—another Skinny Puppy song. I suspect it came from the Heaven's Trash album.

Not confined to what the majority would probably term "bad music" other music was also used:

Aladdin was a really fun movie when I was younger. I enjoyed it a great deal. But the song A Whole New World from Aladdin became something the ogre would often use. And it would become awful after the thirtieth time I’d heard it straight. 

I can personally attest to the efficacy of music in psychological operationsI was second in command in a combat readiness course and as such was in command for the period from 7pm until 7 am.

It started around sunset, from loudspeakers placed in the trees around the perimeter of our defensive position by OpFor (The opposing force in a training exercise).

At first it was funny but after about five hours of non-stop playing on repeat it starts to get on your nerves.  By two in the morning I was getting volunteers to go out and do something about it and before three had sent out a small fire team.  By three am all was quiet, I was informed and surprised later by Cadre (the folks running the exercise) that we were the first unit that had actually done anything to try and stop it and we were granted a brief reprieve until dawn.


I didn't think so at the time, but then it was an exercise and I knew it was an exercise (perspective is everything), we were outside in the woods not confined in a small room, and there was still ambient background noise... generators, gunfire, and the occasional GBS (Ground Burst Simulator...Boom!).  Honestly it was nothing more than an annoying nuisance, but it did set people on edge. Under different circumstances I can imagine that it could take on a much more sinister undertone.

So what do you think?  Can music be torture? Not in the colloquial sense of "stop torturing me", but in the Geneva Convention sense.

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