Tortured Tunes

Today, a group of musicians, including REM, Pearl Jam and The Roots filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to find out whether their music was played at the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay.  The request for information stems from former Guantánamo detainees’ testimony and released government documents that document that music has been used as part of interrogations.

The Roots said in a statement, “When we found out that music was being used as part of the torture going on at Guantanamo, shackling and beating people — we were angry.  Just as we wouldn’t be caught dead allowing Dick Cheney to use our music for his campaigns, you can be damn sure we wouldn’t allow him to use it to torture other human beings. Congress needs to shut Guantánamo down.”

Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, another of the artists who initiated the FOIA request, stated, “Guantánamo 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 – we need to end torture and close Guantánamo now."

Documents that the ACLU has uncovered through our five-year-old FOIA request about the abuse and torture of detainees in U.S. custody detail how “torture music” was used. Criminal investigation records, sworn statements by military intelligence personnel and detainees, and other documents detailing the use of music as an interrogation method are searchable on the ACLU’s torture document database, which makes available to the public over 130,000 pages of government records released to the ACLU. Among the records we’ve disclosed through our lawsuit are:

  • A February 12, 2004 memorandum (PDF) that records the use of a "Fear Up approach" involving "disrespect for the Koran," insulting the detainee, having a room upstairs with spotlights and turning the music on very loud.
  • A June 2004 sworn statement (PDF) of a detainee that describes being placed in a small box where he could not stand for two and a half days. Loud music was played constantly, he was denied food and water until the last day, and slapped by a translator during an interrogation.


The ACLU has also interviewed former Guantánamo detainees about their experiences in U.S. custody. Ruhal Ahmed, a 27-year–old, life-long British resident who spent two-and-a-half years at Guantánamo described the use of heavy metal music in combination with stress positions:

…[T]hroughout our stay in Guantánamo, we was all physically, and psychologically, and sexually abused in many forms… we were put into stress positions for days… sometimes exceed[ing] two days, three days, and at the same time you would have the loud music playing, extremely loud, heavy metal would be the most common one they used to use. Strobe lights which you find in discos, these would be flashing in your eyes constantly for two hours and at the same time someone would come and interrogate you – shout questions. There were dogs coming in barking right by your face.

…the physical abuse is hard to bear…[but] no matter how much physically you are beaten up… even if they break your leg, arm… it always will heal over time… [B]ut when you are in a stress position and have got extremely loud music especially heavy metal playing for two or three days continuous without stopping without giving you a break to think for yourself, it’s hard to actually focus… [W]hen they have something [like heavy metal] to replace your thoughts …it’s extremely hard to concentrate on things and it would make you hallucinate and it would make you see… things that is not there. So I think the psychological abuse is much worse and is much harder to bear rather than the physical. Because as I said before the physical pain can always be cured…over months of time that bruise or the broken leg would always heal. But when a human, a person is pushed past a certain barrier psychologically, once he is pushed over his limit, there is no turning back there is no medicine that will actually bring him back to his sanity, once he loses his mind, that’s it. And it was the case for a few of the detainees that we seen who went through this same treatment that we went through.

(Emphasis added.)

The more we learn about the inhumane methods used on detainees in the Bush administration’s “War on Terror,” the greater the need for meaningful accountability for the torture and abuse of detainees in America’s name. To read the documents and take action demanding accountability for torture toady, head on over to our Accountability for Torture site.

Add a comment (7)
Read the Terms of Use

david edwards surveilance in ear1yr.computerchip,soundwaves,braingatemotorcortex implant,siliconglasscomputerchipimplant.needlelikepain on top of head,cut on back of head,upper roof of mouth,migrainepain front of head,nosebleed 3wks swelling to head,feet,testical,shock to head,organ,feet,back,nausea,wtloss50lbs


Thanks to Bush and now Obama America stands for tortuer and human rights abuse.I bet the founding fathers are rolling over in their graves.

Eric Pearson

As Democrats of the Democratic Party, we are joining together in seeking reform within the Democratic Party. Many of the elected representatives within the Democratic Party are no longer following in the time-honored footsteps laid down by the founding fathers of our great Nation. More importantly, we as democrats see our elected representatives within the Democratic Party abandoning the values and principles as set forth within the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Overall, this is only the beginning of our problems as Democrats, for the current Democratic Party leadership is full of corruption and being taken over by Socialists. Everyone of these Socialist are clearly a danger to everything we hold dear as patriotic American citizens, and they are gaining evermore control over the members of our Democratic Party, our Nation, and the American people. At the very least, many of them no longer think of themselves as being our elected representatives, and now refer to themselves as leaders of Socialism in the true form of tyrants. Most Democrats already know their pleas are only being answered by repeated insult and injury by their elected representatives within the Democratic Party. Despite this, we as Democrats can restore control of the Democratic Party back to the party members. All we need to do is cut off donations to the local, state, and national headquarters of the Democratic Party, and to make sure the donations are made directly to patriotic and honorable Democratic Party candidates that are not corrupted and/or Socialist. So spread the message to everyone of our fellow Democrats, for the Democrat members are taking back control of the Democratic Party. Also, please don’t forget to contact and request the Unions and other outside contributors to follow our lead as patriotic Americans. Thank you! Website:

Charlse Jordan

The whole time while reading this I was thinking of a song that could be used against me for torture. Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cirus, came to mind!!!


My only prayer is that someday Theislamics murders your families like Hitler did in the holocost.I Faught under Gen. Patton WW11.If I had my Bazooka.too bad for you.

Rumar of a Lear...

Fellow Citisens:Please Pardon my spelling. What do we do when we read articles of our country tortureing people,people they snatch right off the street.How pathatic how in humane waht what gives any one the right to take anyone off the street and torture them to see what they may know and i suspect these things are done to test the result's of torture using these innocent people guinea pig's.If you were to take one of these people and do that to them they whould then care about how it feel's. These type of protocol's are not only inhumane but black and white wrong. The type of collective thought that is behind these protocol's have their own agenda's and it's not our saftey teh protection of our country as a free and democractic one.Their are deliberate change's that are being manuvered in this country, and belive me it's about control,control of the masses thru a step by step covert plan to slowly take our right's away,thru corrupt Government,Networking group's of people in our community to deliberatley watch anyone that may stick out of teh staus que-these manuver's are desighned with a clear purpose ultimate control-in this step by step process this collective thought in our Government deliberatley uses the economy to weaken the average citizen,this is done thru unfair trade agreement's, raising taxe's,raising the cost of service's and by weaking the value of our dollar in the international market. It is a multi teired plan that eventually cover's all aspect's of our need's food shelter Job Security to pay for both,when these thing's can not be acheived then they whisk you into Governement dependance.While strenghting the Military and industrial complex to keep everone in line. The middle east the so called extremist's their a threat to this desired establishment and the oil.That's all that this is about this isnt about our democracy which is a literall joke in this country it's not about freedom,whier's the freedom at for this woman that I heard about today. THis Learning disabled woman was GangStalked and tortured in Dearborn Mi/California and Tennese by the collective thought of whoever initiated it Fellow citizen's look up GangStalking thru Google. What they did with this woman was rent adjacent apartment's next to her's to employ GangStalking Tactic's of "Direct Conversation's" that were laced with dialog that was mentioned as she was being tortured this is a psychological tool they use to undermind the victim's ability to negotiate calmness and peace in her life and to keep her in a circular traumed effect of the intial torture,Which in turn kept the trauma's in the forefront of her daily life experience's. They used Landlord's to gain entry into her apartment for other harrassment tactic's,and they were used to eventually eveict her with a end motive of result to make her homwless/the GangStalking continued on a 24/7 bases and then "Street Theatre's" were then used on a more frequent bases,including subscribing buisness employees of the place's the victim frequented to undermone her perception's of reality. I heard this woman mailed a letter to the FBI thru a bank employee in april of 2006,i heard she also went to the FBI/Gang Stalking continued and increased.These tactic's are employed with a mean's to a end purpose. I heard the victim belive's these gthing's were done in order for them to accumualte enough Deliberate False Diagnoses thru Fedearl and County Funded Hospital' Corrupt Mental Health Official's when your being Tortured by People you do not no,While not knowing the Governement is involved/Without knowing that their connected to these Hospital's you eventually run to them it's a normal programmed response anyone whould do,then they keep employing these tactic's until they have accumulated enough false diagnoses then use her homelessness combined with these diagnoses and boom you have containment of the victim to protect what they have done This victim has been Cybersurvalled literally at her aprtment from her personal computer and including all the librarie's she has went to to use the inetrnet from the literal begining of this crime. They are aware She has went to The ACLU thru their survallance and they are aware that she plan's to go to the ACLU anniversary dinner celebrartion on the 10th of November they are aware of this thru their cybersurvallance. To keep their covert involvement in this concealed they will try and use either a staged community citizen to stumpble across wheir she is living they will diffinitly ultimetaley use her family who is helping them thru fear and slander campaighn's,they will use the Michigan Stae Police and or Social service's They recnetly tryed to coherse her to Move to Brownstown for more isolated event's to transpire for the above mentioned end result. This is know about containmenmt and stealing the evedence they know she is carrying. These are the thing's I heard Yesterday 10-25-09 on a Public Bus in Dearborn Mi Wheir the Torture began. Torture is wrong these people are wired in at every level of Michiganm Government and this cover up is being paid for thru Taxpayer's dollar's: THis transmission is being sent from a place were GangStalking has been done on a literall daily bases


pfc...I guess that you must be an atheist. A Christian has only love in his heart.

Sign Up for Breaking News