Musical Torture

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Dozens of big-name musicians announced today that they’re joining a Freedom of Information Act request, trying to find out which songs were used to torture detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

During the Bush administration, interrogators tried to make Guantanamo prisoners talk by playing various kinds of music, at top volume, for hours, even days, at a time. One suspect claims he was subjected to the same Eminem “song,” over and over, for 20 days.

Musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and members of REM and Pearl Jam, want to know which songs were used in this way. So far, the government won’t say.

For more about the FOI action and the use of music as torture (which is forbidden by the United Nations), click here.

  • Here in Redding, we’ve got some sweet music coming up. The Shasta College Community Jazz Big Band will perform jazz standards and other songs at its fall concert next week. The 22-member band performs at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the Shasta College Theater. Tickets are only $3 each. What a deal!
  • Mark Your Calendars for Nov. 8, when the Redding RollerGirls host their final roller derby bout of the season at Big League Dreams. Tickets are $10 in advance/$12 at the door. For more info, click here.
  • The Redding Police Department has been recognized by the California Peace Officers Association for solving a cold case homicide that languished for 21 years before DNA evidence resulted in a confession. For info about the award and other details, click here.
  • Did you hear about the blue whale that washed up on shore near Fort Bragg? The 70-foot-long whale had been hit by a ship and died from its injuries. Experts say such beachings are rare for the world’s largest mammal. For more, click here.
  • DVDs I Watched on the Dreadmill: “The 39 Steps,” directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I’d seen this oldie before, but enjoyed once again watching Robert Donat escape the authorities after getting mixed up in a spy plot in Scotland.

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is the author of CUTTHROAT and 17 other books. Read more of his columns at, or follow him on Facebook.
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1 Response

  1. Avatar Erin Friedman says:

    If our kids find out that the UN has banned music as torture, Craig and I may be in big trouble. It's a rather effective way to motivate with sluggish teenagers. On the other hand, I may have finally found a government market for our music.