It appears that the CIA used Red Hot Chili Peppers, among other music, to torture disobliging prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, according to a recent report.
That’s right. In 2002, prisoners were forced to listen to an unidentified track by the Californian band on an endless loop at ear-piercing volumes. They called it “enhanced interrogation.”
A recent report from the United States Senate Intelligence Committee confirms that the CIA used RHCP to torture prisoners in GITMO. This news was published by Al Jazeera editors via Stereogum.
Why rock music? The US's Psychological Operations Company once explained that the music employed ought to be culturally offensive to categorically break the prisoner’s self-control.
While it is common lore that music has been employed in psychological operations for centuries on end, something about this is particularly perturbing. That probably has to do with the cramped cages some prisoners were stuffed into whilst the music was played at blaring volumes.
This technique was just one of the many revolting tactics that were borne out of the Bush administration.
But this is not unprecedented.
We already knew that uncooperative prisoners were exposed to prolonged periods of tracks by rock group Metallica and melodies from children's TV shows, including Sesame Street and Barney in the hope of getting answers.
Myriad human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have condemned these tactics, writing them off as torture.
Sergeant Mark Hadsell
, of Psy Ops, condoned this method to Newsweek magazine in 2003: "These people haven't heard heavy metal” adding, "They can't take it. If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That's when we come in and talk to them."
The vice president of the Psy Ops Veterans Association, Rick Hoffman, told BBC Radio 4's Today that these tactics would have no long-lasting effect on prisoners.
Regardless of the veracity of that notion can you seriously tell me that you wouldn’t rather die in that moment?
Can you listen to this loop of a RHCP song on full volume?