December 9, 2005

WELL, WE CAN ALL AGREE THAT PLAYLIST IS PAINFUL:

Disco Inferno (MOUSTAFA BAYOUMI, December 26, 2005, The Nation)

Disco isn't dead. It has gone to war.

And it's everywhere: Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, anywhere touched by the "war on terror." In Afghanistan, Zakim Shah, a 20-year-old Afghan farmer, was forced to stay awake while in American custody by soldiers blasting music and shouting at him. Shah told the New York Times that after enduring the pain of music, "he grew so exhausted...that he vomited." In Guantánamo Bay, Eminem, Britney Spears, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica (again) and Bruce Springsteen ("Born in the USA") have been played at mind-numbing volumes, sometimes for stretches of up to fourteen hours, at detainees. And at Abu Ghraib, Saddam Salah al-Rawi, a 29-year-old Iraqi, told a similar story. For no reason, over a period of four months, he was hooded, beaten, stripped, urinated on and lashed to his cell door by his hands and feet. He also talked about music becoming a weapon. "There was a stereo inside the cell," he said, "with a sound so loud I couldn't sleep. I stayed like that for twenty-three hours."

Whatever the playlist--usually heavy metal or hip-hop but sometimes, bizarrely, Barney the Dinosaur's "I Love You" or selections from Sesame Street--the music is pumped at detainees with such brutality to unravel them without laying so much as a feather on their bodies. The mind is another story, and blasting loud music at captives has become part of what has now entered our lexicon as "torture lite." Torture lite is a calculated combination of psychological and physical means of coercion that stop short of causing death and pose little risk that telltale physical marks will be left behind, but that nonetheless can cause extreme psychological trauma. It's designed to deprive the victim of sleep and to cause massive sensory overstimulation, and it has been shown in different situations to be psychologically unbearable.

Clearly, torture music is an assault on human rights.


If I recall correctly (an unlikelihood), it was Cliff van Zandt who told the story on Frontline's Waco episode about the feds bringing out their loud music, which is pro forma in such stand-offs. But then David Koresh brought out this monster sound system that he used for probably similar reasons and totally overrode them, driving the agents crazy mad and contributing to the ugly denouement.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 9, 2005 2:14 PM
Comments

Sounds like a job for "The Song"...

What is it btw?

Posted by: Bruno at December 9, 2005 2:42 PM

Bruno:

Take it from me. Don't go there.

Posted by: Luciferous at December 9, 2005 3:00 PM

That article is parody, right?

Right?

Posted by: Timothy at December 9, 2005 3:16 PM

I don't think the Nation does parodies.

Posted by: Tom C.,Stamford,Ct. at December 9, 2005 3:22 PM

The Left is parody.

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2005 3:51 PM

Say what you want about waterboarding--using the Barney song clearly crosses the line.

Posted by: ted welter at December 9, 2005 3:56 PM

Seems like they gave what's-his-name -- "Pineapple Face" -- the former strongman of Panama -- this treatment back in the 80's. He was holed up in his presidential palace & they blasted him with AC/DC and such.

Posted by: Twn at December 9, 2005 3:58 PM

The Barney song? Okay, that's evil.

Posted by: Mikey at December 9, 2005 4:09 PM

Corporeal Flack reporting for duty, sir!

Posted by: Jeff at December 9, 2005 4:13 PM

noriega was in a catholic monastery that had granted him sanctuary, when they prised him out with heavy metal.

Posted by: anon at December 9, 2005 5:47 PM

As I recall the army also blasted a certain Van Halen song at Noriega. And believe that he was holed up in some European country's embassy. It would be funy if they had dug up one of the diplomats from that incident for the story.

Any guesses as to which Van Halen tune?

Posted by: Jason Johnson at December 9, 2005 5:50 PM

As I recall the army also blasted a certain Van Halen song at Noriega. And I believe that he was holed up in some European country's embassy. It would be funy if they had dug up one of the diplomats from that incident for the story.

Any guesses as to which Van Halen tune?

Posted by: Jason Johnson at December 9, 2005 5:51 PM

I hope they honestly present the American people with their viewpoint that blasting loud music at terrorist savages constitutes torture.

That's gold, Jerry! Gold!

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 9, 2005 6:03 PM

Any guesses as to which Van Halen tune?

Just for fun, I'll guess The Apolitical Blues.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 9, 2005 6:08 PM

I must be a terrorist savage. Kids are always blasting music at me while I wait at stop lights.

Posted by: jdkelly at December 9, 2005 6:25 PM

Why wasn't this titled "Killing Me Softly..."?

Posted by: Noel at December 9, 2005 7:00 PM

uh oh. Noel went there.

These stooges on the Left are unbelievable.

Btw, during Hell Week in my fraternity we blasted "My Sharona" on a loop for hours at a time in the room we locked the pledges in. And we cut out the kick ass guitar solo after the first few licks.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 9, 2005 7:25 PM

"torture music is and assault on human rights"...

Which explains why I spent 4 years at college making sure my music was louder than the guy next door. At least my rights weren't violated.

Posted by: Bill at December 9, 2005 7:41 PM

Storming their ears with some disco,
Zinging their minds with the Byrds,
Stressing them harshly with Barney,
Stressing them harshy,
With Barney . . .

Posted by: Mike Morley at December 9, 2005 7:52 PM

Noel:

Send me your address and I'll send you a "book"

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2005 8:06 PM

The Book of the Dead.

Posted by: jdkelly at December 9, 2005 8:09 PM

Some Textual Healing?

Posted by: Noel at December 9, 2005 10:41 PM

Mike M.

THAT'S FUNNY!

But not as funny as Ozzie Osborne's "No More Tears" re-written as "Four More Years" just after the election.

To bad I couldn't find a band...

Posted by: Bruno at December 9, 2005 11:43 PM
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