Musicians want secret documents on alleged music-related human rights abuses at Guantanamo

By Branko Brkic 23 October 2009

On behalf of a coalition of American and international musicians, including R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Tom Morello and Jackson Brown, the National Security Archive has filed petitions under the Freedom of Information Act calling for the declassification of secret  documents on strategies to use music as an interrogation device at Guantanamo and other detention centres.  The National Security Archive is a non-governmental freedom of information organisation affiliated with George Washington University in Washington, DC.  A 2004 Defence Department report on abuses at the military base in Cuba, for example, stated that the "futility technique included the playing of Metallica, Britney Spears and rap music". The National Security Archive filed the requests with the CIA, US Special Operations Command and the FBI, among others, requesting all documentation pertaining to how the music was chosen and the specific role it played in interrogations of detainees at the Guantanamo base. Thomas Blanton, the archive's executive director said, "At Guantanamo, the US government turned a jukebox into an instrument of torture. The musicians and the public have the right to know how an expression of popular culture was transformed into an enhanced interrogation technique." Many people would say listening to the music in question is torture anyway.  Next up, the miffed musos will be demanding  royalties? Read more: National Security Archive, New Security Action