How Western Pop Music is Being Used as ‘Touchless Torture’ by the American military

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A U.S. Special Operations soldier sits by a speaker mounted on a Humvee, near Basra, Iraq (2003)

A U.S. Special Operations soldier sits by a speaker mounted on a Humvee, near Basra, Iraq (2003)

From Frieze Magazine: “As reported by the BBC, the Guardian, the Associated Press, Newsweek, The Nation, Mother Jones, SPIN and others (while mocked by right-wing columnists from the Chicago Tribune and The New York Sun), Western pop music has been employed to disorient, ‘prolong capture shock’ and ‘break’ detainees into confession, often through a strategic mixture of high volume, repetition and cultural offensiveness. Shafiq Rasul, of the ‘Tipton Three’ – British Muslims detained in Guantánamo for over two years after being captured by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan – tells of being short-shackled to the floor in a dark cell while Eminem’s ‘Kim’ (2000) and pounding heavy metal played incessantly for hours, augmented by strobe lights.” …read more


Julie Greicius was art editor for The Rumpus when it launched in January 2009. One year later, she became senior literary editor and was active in that role for more than three years. Julie also co-edited the first book published by The Rumpus, Rumpus Women, Vol. 1, featuring personal essays and illustration from 20 kick-ass contributors. Her essays and interviews have been featured on The Rumpus, Midnight Breakfast, and Buzzfeed, as well as in the anthology The 27th Mile. She lives in California. More from this author →