Music Torture

Music Torture

“One of the more unusual methods employed by US interrogators to break the will of detainees during harsh interrogation at Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Mosul, and elsewhere is the use of loud music. The 2006 edition of the US Army’s field manual for interrogation advocated the use of abusive sound as a method of interrogation, a practice corroborated by former detainees who were subject to this abuse.

At Guantánamo, inmates reported being held in chains without food or water in total darkness ‘with loud rap or heavy metal blaring for weeks at a time.’ This music played several roles during interrogation. It provoked fear, distress, and disorientation, crowding out the thoughts of the detainee and bending their will to the interrogators’. Even when played at excruciatingly high volume (often as loud as 100 decibels during harsh interrogation, the equivalent of a jackhammer), music leaves no marks on detainees and sheds no blood; it inflicts severe physical and psychological pain without betraying any evidence of its source.”

— “Guantánamo Mixtape: This Would Be the Soundtrack to Hell,” Scott G. Bruce, LitHub
(An excerpt from From The Penguin Book of Hell, Scott G. Bruce,editor, 2018)


“Guantánamo Bay: Welcome to ‘the disco,'” Clive Stafford Smith, The Guardian

“Sesame Street breaks Iraqi POWs,” BBC News


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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