Torture to listen to

AEONS AGO, it seems, there was a contretemps about the US use of certain genres of music to add to the distress of those detained at Guantánamo Bay, the military base that somehow clings to the edge of Cuba. The Freelance tried to contact the managements of bands whose music was involved - notably the practically self-explanatorily-named band Metallica. No joy.

Surely, in addition to merely objecting, they could sue? Surely this use of their artistic creation was contrary to their "honour or reputation", in the words of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works?

Just to show that you can't keep a good story down, we learned last month that Vancouver band Skinny Puppy had learned that they are on the playlist. Their latest opus may be titled Weapon, but they don't appreciate being used as one. So, as reported on and elsewhere, they have sent a bill. For $666k for unauthorised "musical services". We are now trying to contact them to offer support.

Back in 2009, when the first revelations about the use of music for "torture lite" at Guantánamo came out, numerous rap and heavy metal acts joined forces to make a Freedom of Information Act request via the Washington DC-based National Security Archive, seeking disclosure of classified records "that detail the use of loud music as an interrogation device," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Joining said metal and rap bands was Bob Singleton, classical composer and author of the song "I Love You", sung by Barney the Purple Dinosaur, allegedly the track most frequently played to Gitmo prisoners.

Apparently, the playlist at Guantánamo was down to whatever random CDs the guards had with them, rather than any evil plan. Regrettably, the Freelance has heard nothing since on Bob's response to unauthorised and objectionable use of his Barney the Purple Dinosaur material.

Last modified: 07 Mar 2014 - © 2014 contributors
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