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 is a writer and editor based in California. Follow her on Twitter. More from this author →