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As you may or may not be aware by way of its former omnipresence in the world news, the prison camp run by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has become quite notorious for utilizing ‘progressive methods of interrogation’, or what many civilized people refer to as overwhelmingly blatant acts of out-and-out torture, on its detainees for the purpose of eliciting so-called relevant information in the prosecution/persecution of (mostly) suspected and/or convicted terrorists. These methods are really quite numerous and vicious, and run the gamut from more ‘traditional’ displays of physical intimidation and mental coercion like solitary confinement and starvation, to the relatively unheard-of (in the Western world at least) acts like water-boarding, which is used to simulate the sensation of drowning. Admittedly, I am by no means an expert on water-boarding, or any other torture techniques for that matter, besides of course those that were used against me by members of the Austin, Texas Police Department and the Sheriffs Department after I was illegally arrested for ‘Driving While Intoxicated’ in July of 2011 despite the fact that I do not ever consume alcohol (a story I will disclose in detail in the near-future), I have been made to understand through various news articles and televised reports that it simultaneously implements sensory deprivation, physical and mental disorientation, and extreme physical discomfort by tying-down prisoners, covering their heads with towels or other fabrics, and subsequently leaning them backward as water is poured over their faces at intermittent periods to restrict oxygen intake and force the body and mind to automatically go into a state of overdrive and fearfulness as occurs with the inhalation of water by drowning victims. Undoubtedly, this method is cruel and unusual regardless of what I may or may not know of its specifics; but, as the title of this post implies, the purpose of my writing is to disclose the specificities associated with the use of music at Guantanamo Bay, or ‘Gitmo’ as it is often abbreviated, as an ‘interrogation’ technique and a means of torture. While conducting some research on an unrelated topic, I came across a brief, but engaging, piece of information relating the story of how the music created by one of my favorite musical acts and personal influences (Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails) was used not to please the aural senses and bring about joy as usually intended, but for a far more sinister purpose: to torture the detainees of the Guantanamo prison camp. I was personally offended by this discovery, both as a musician and human being, and decided to embark on a quest to piece together the various works of musical art that made up the ‘Guantanamo/Gitmo Torture Playlist’, those songs found suitable by the CIA for their dirty work against suspected enemies of the United States and lovers of ‘freedom’ around the world. This is by no means a comprehensive list; it is merely a distillation of information I have culled from various sources to which I will in due time provide proper attribution/citations/links for further reading. As of now, the following songs/artists are known to have been used at Guantanamo (by way of being blasted at inordinately high/uncomfortable decibel levels for equally inordinate lengths of time (both day and night, incessantly for periods of days, weeks, and almost a month in at least one instance) to produce adverse mental/emotional/and physical discomfort in prisoners, such as severe sleep deprivation:

(Note: I respect, as an artist myself, the work of fellow musicians/artificers, no matter how terrible I find them to be, and no artist should ever have their work misused in such a dehumanizing way, nor should any human being have to undergo such punishment. That being said, I have marked with an asterisk (*) those songs and/or artists that I find to be torturous regardless of the setting. In other words, they are works I find particularly bad in general, so I can only imagine what constant exposure to them would do to a person psychologically and physically.)

The “Barney and Friends” Theme*

The “Sesame Street” Theme*

“The Real Slim Shady” and “White America” by Eminem* (the former track was apparently played to one former detainee 24 hours a day for a period of 28 days)

“Somewhat Damaged” by Nine Inch Nails

“Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine

“The Star-Spangled Banner”*

“…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears*

“Don’t Gimme No Lip” by Pearl Jam

“Bodies” by Drowning Pool*

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica*

“Shoot to Thrill” and ‘Hell’s Bells” by AC/DC*

“Babylon” by David Gray

“Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen*

“American Pie” by Don McLean* (I am aware the McLean’s music was used; however, I do not know for certain which of his songs specifically was used. “American Pie”, as his only hit, and of course given the obvious titular significance thereof, is simply an educated guess.)

Other artists reportedly used (those to which I can not attribute particular songs) are:



Lil’ Kim*

Limp Bizkit*

Christina Aguilera*

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Meat Loaf*

The Bee Gees

If you have any pertinent information related to the ‘Guantanamo Torture Playlist’, especially specific song titles and artists, please send it my way so we can develop a more comprehensive list. To quote Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine: ‘the fact that music I helped create was used in crimes against humanity sickens me.’

If you want to get involved with activism against government/police brutality, I recommend you do so. It all seems well and good until it actually happens to you, something I’ve learned first-hand. There is a reason the cops are called ‘pigs’- we’re in an Orwellian nightmare, living on ‘Animal Farm’, if you will. They will continue to run around like little pigs, making a mess of everything, and leaving others to clean up their messes. Why should we wallow in the sh*t that undereducated and egomaniacal officers of the ‘law’ leave us with when they blatantly abuse their power with unwarranted searches/seizures and illegal arrests? And if you ever think of grabbing one of these pigs by their curly little tails, they’ll squeal to the whole barnyard. If you fight back against their tyranny, good luck- even though they hide behind their badges, flak jackets, guns, and other lethal weapons, the farmer and his friends (District Attorneys and judges/executioners) will back up their every move and attempt to legitimize any of their excesses, regardless of the (ill)legality. And, of course, this fight will cost you an arm and a leg in attorney’s fees/court costs/lost wages/personal time/emotional well-being; even then, you are guaranteed nothing by making the decision to fight back. My non-profit The Frost Foundation works for a number of causes, one of them being police brutality, because, if nothing else, I hope you, as a fellow human being, never have to undergo the humiliation, degradation, and dehumanization of being unfairly arrested, jailed, and prosecuted. These people give no quarter, so why should they receive any? For more on The Frost Foundation, including links to the organizations it supports, please visit: The Frost Foundation page at the official Love Anchor/Alexander Frost website (www.loveanchor.org).

Links to Sources:

Links to Sources: