back to article Musos demand Guantanamo Bay playlist

A coalition of musicians is demanding the US government cough a list of tracks allegedly used to torture inmates of Guantanamo Bay, as former prisoners claim they were subjected to the Bee Gees, Britney Spears and Sesame Street at "ear-splitting level". According to the Telegraph, the National Security Archive in Washington …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    ...Paris Hilton sings. Did they use her "music" too?

  2. Pretz1

    It could only have been...

    Beethoven's 9th. Little Alex would approve.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "far below the level of a live band"

    In my experience, live bands are usually amplified to a level that, if it doesn't directly damage hearing, it certainly promotes early hearing loss. So even "far below the level of a LB" could easily be far-too-loud -- especially as the inmates very likely didn't want to hear it in the first place.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    i wont be the first

    To say its not the first time a jukebox with those artists has been used as an instrument of torture...

    The bee gees have good form on this one, since their trousers in the 70s looked to me like an instrucment of torture too!

  5. Dave Ross

    Hope they..

    had a public performance license, or they could be paying royalties plus damages pretty damn soon!

  6. seanj


    I'm a bit stumped as to how playing loud music can be used for "security" purposes within the context I understood the quote to mean (as in Home Security - security in the sense of locking your doors and windows before going to sleep type of security).

  7. Jerome 0

    Security music

    'CIA spokesman George Little insisted the music was employed for "security" and "not for punitive purposes"'

    Ah well, that explains it. Security music. Why didn't they just say so in the first place? I expect it was used to keep the guard rabbits happy while the candy-cane fence was repaired.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps they were just streaming

  9. The Original Ash

    What the hell?

    Britney Spears? Sesame Street?

    They need a new Head of Unpleasentness, I think; I'll take the Pepsi challenge with those songs against a few of my own any day.

    Toxic Vs Massacre by The Berzerker. I wonder which will have them crying sooner.

  10. PerfectBlue

    Illegal Concert

    I for one believe that US courts should prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law. What we are seeing here is a clear example of a body using copyrighted material to give illegal public performaces. Every instance of a track being played should be counted as a public broadcast of copyright material and every person involved should be held liable. From the person who picked the tracks, to the who authorized it, to the person who pressed the play button.

    forget just getting royalties, we need to see some of these people going to jail for holding illegal concerts.

  11. nichomach


    "CIA spokesman George Little insisted the music was employed for "security""


  12. Andrew Barr


    Just wait till the PRS gets involved!! They will be wanting the royalties !!

  13. Anonymous Coward


    ... how much will I get from the royalties? RIAA, I'm looking to you to get all that I'm owed.


    Arnold Schoenberg

    Icon because it's that o'clock!

  14. Alex King

    Only turned up to ten?

    Wimps, should've turned it up to 11...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I smell horseshit

    (CIA spokesman George Little insisted the music was employed for "security" and "not for punitive purposes".)

    I'm assuming the security purpose he's referring to is stopping the inmates communicating with each other. However, It seems more reasonable to believe that security would want to know what they were saying and so would listen in, not render the listening equipment useless with loud noise.

    So, FAIL, it's torture not security purposes.

  16. Graham Marsden

    They should get the RIAA in on this...

    ... after all, these were "public performances", so they should get royalties...

  17. Shadowfirebird


    Did the military pay a performance fee? Presumably not, or someone would know what the playlist was.

    If not, where are the RIAA on this?

  18. Stratman

    Morals my arse

    They just want their tuppence from the Performing Rights Society.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    CIA spokesman George Little insisted the music was employed for "security" and "not for punitive purposes". He assured the volume level was "far below a live band".

    But you only listen to a live band for a few hours at most. And then you go and sleep.

    And you can leave the gig if you want.

    It's a lot more difficult to these things when the music is played 24 hours a day and the door's locked.

    That's why it's called torture.

  20. Stef 4


    I thought they wanted a list of music so that they could claim their royalties, after the government illegally played the music to a wide audience.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    OK I'll start...

    REM "Losing My Religion"

  22. Winkypop Silver badge

    Spinal Tap

    Would have turned it up all the way to 11

    So no harm done.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Does CIA have a license

    Does CIA have a license for performing in a public place. They should issue a DMCA request and hit them for royalties.

  24. Cameron Colley

    I hope the MPA are going after them?

    With any luck they won't have paid for performance rights and the odious shits at the MPA will be able to sue the odious shits in the US government.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    was employed for "security"

    O RLY?!?!

    So let me get this straight. The only circumstances that music was used with regard to the inmates / distinguished guests, was if one of said guests stepped on a trip wire as they were escaping. This would then trigger the Barney (TM) song to be played at acceptable and non-dangerous levels in an attempt to alert staff (do they still call them Redcoats at holiday camps these days?) in order to prevent the escape and maintain security.

    And I suppose that George Bush is a pacifist, respects the electoral process and stamps out nepotism where ever he finds it?

    I refer you to my opening statement of "O RLY?".

  26. sandman

    Track I'd least like to be tortured with?

    I vote for "The Laughing Gnome" or possibly "Grandad". If you don't know them, look em up and experience true horror.

  27. Spleen


    "CIA spokesman George Little insisted the music was employed for "security" and "not for punitive purposes". He assured the volume level was "far below a live band"

    Jesus, they're not even trying. How do you employ music for security? I don't think you can actually keep detainees imprisoned with a Wall of Sound.

    Also, I don't believe that when you go to see a band live they chain you up for hours and days on end in contorted positions, stood/crouched/suspended in your own piss and shit, at first being afraid that your arms and legs are going to drop off, then wishing that they would because it couldn't possibly hurt any worse, while the band plays their instruments right next to your ear. Admittedly I haven't been to see Rammstein in a while though.

  28. Patrick Ernst
    Thumb Up

    Artists and Military at war

    Imagine artists say "hand over details of music played" - military says "can't - Patriot Act" - artists say "gotta DMCA" - loop. I'm trying to think of the consquences. Somebody help me!

    PS: the google ads above have an interesting one. "Guantanamo Flights. Get the latest deals when you book your flight to Guantanamo." Now you can book your rendition flight in advance, which makes it much more convenient for everyone concerned.

  29. It wasnt me


    He assured the volume level was "far below a live band".

    This is superfluous information. It was clearly the content that was torture, and not the volume. Although bizarrely it appears that they didnt think to use any morissey.

    Beer, for Friday.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Playlist? Torture?

    I suppose I agree - listening to their "music" is pure torture, and it should be banned from the free, commercial airwaves.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Nice try

    But the audience was invitation-only (even though deeply captivated) so the artists don't have a legal leg to stand on if they want royalties. But I'd sure love to see *IAA have a go at the federal gubmint over this. Win-win in my opinion.

  32. alyn

    Leonard Cohen

    No, probably Leonard Cohen. Or anything from the Spice Girls.

  33. AndyS

    "Far below a live band?"

    And although they did put electricity through the suspect's testicles, I can assure you it was far less than you'd use for a toaster.

  34. Swarthy Silver badge

    If you don't want you're music to be torture

    Then don't create torturous music. Some would say that the Mr Morello's work is torture at any volume level.

  35. asiaseen

    It's the money they want

    A cunning ploy before claiming royalties from the US government.

  36. Mike Richards

    Bigger question

    Did Camp X-ray have a performance license to play the music? If not, how much will they be expected to cough up?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    WHere is the RIAA?

    They should be all over this one.

  38. Bassey


    "The fact that music I helped create was used as a tactic against humanity sickens me"

    Especially as he hasn't received his public performance royalties from them yet! Is Guantanamo even licensed to play recorded music?

  39. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Track I'd least like to be tortured with?

    'Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs' by Brian and John. One of the worst singles ever released, about one of the most unappealing artists who ever stubbed brush on canvas, *and* they can't even get the name of a common household item right.

    And at least one of them had a ghastly beard.

    And the fucker was number one when I was born. Doomed to a life of uncoolness from the start.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Music to Torture By ©®™

    how about a continuous stream of "Rabbi Tuchmann and the Sisters of Judah sings Hebrew Classics"

    Or Broadway show tunes... [involuntary shudder]

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "CIA spokesman George Little insisted the music was employed for "security" and "not for punitive purposes"."

    This would be "security" in the fact that it stops his colleagues from hearing the screams and investigating I guess... A very sick person indeed.

  42. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Sleep deprivation, royalties, and whipper-snappers.

    The much-quoted Geneva Convention has little effect on blocking modern "enhanced interogation" techniques, as it was written at a time when torture was largely physical. Modern science has introduced such wonders as stress positions, white noise and sleep deprivation, with only the latter being addressed in the Convention. IIRC, the Geneva Convention only states that a prisoner (and that's a recognised soldier, not an un-uniformed "insurgent"), must have a rest of one hour in each twenty-four hours of interrogation, a figure which would still produce the effects of sleep deprivation in very short order without contravening the rules.

    As regards royalties, Gitmo is US teriritory under the terms of the 1903 lease, but it is a military base, so I'm not sure civil copyright law applies. And then there's always the problem that Cuba has claimed Gitmo is an illegal occupation, which implied the military could throw their hands up and insist it was dealt with under Cuban law. Whilst Cuba does have copyright laws, they are mainly around stopping foreigners ripping off Cuban cigar brands, and it is doubtful a human rights violator like Castro would want to many torture questions asked in an Havanan court.

    And finally, the youthful Ms Bee - 1978! Whippersnapper!

  43. YumDogfood

    Killing in the name of...

    Nice. You can track the number of torture sessions by the royalty payouts.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    two words

    Celine Dion.

  45. Jesthar

    Re: Track I'd least like to be tortured with?

    The Teletubbies song. I don't have full perfect pitch, but I DO have perfect relative pitch, and the bloke 'singing' (and I use that term in the loosest possible sense) is ALWAYS slightly off key - aaaaargghhh!!!!

    And there's only so many times thinking up humerous variants such as the TelePubbies (Drinky Winky, Tipsy, Lagered and Poled) can keep you sane...

  46. Steen Hive

    @Sarah Bee

    "'Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs' by Brian and John."

    Brian and Michael?

    "And at least one of them had a ghastly beard."

    I have a ghastly beard, and I know who wrote that song. My life is truly without merit.

  47. Martin 6 Silver badge

    Money + PRS

    So are they are complaining about the torture or do they want the 500quid for a public performance license

  48. ian 22


    Could they have used Cat Stevens' (AKA Yusuf Islam) music?

    True horror and pain is listening to William Shatner singing! Oh Captain, my Captain, you have done wrong (on so many levels).

  49. brimful

    @AC @15.35

    Near far, whereever you are,

    I believe that my song will go on.

    Once more I iopen the door

    and you're here in my cell

    and my song will go on and on

    You're welcome, applause applause, bows.

  50. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    So now we may (or may not) know Ms Bee's age, I wonder how many in the 'sad old fart' category will try their luck.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    I can think of some "musicians"

    who should be forced to follow up with an extended tour at gitmo.

    Also, CIA vs. RIAA; who do you want to lose?

  52. Fatman Silver badge

    Gitmo Playlist

    I am curious if this play list contains one of my most hated songs.

    It is titled "Fishheads". If I am not mistaken, it came out in the late 80's here in merika.

    I would rather NOT know who performed it.

    If you really want to torture those "enemy combatants", then @Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 23rd October 2009 15:17 GMT hit it on the head. Hebrew music for Muslims, that has to be torture.


    For a truly cruel and unusual punishment, perhaps Lily Allen could head there for a live performance before they close up shop. If she went into one of her profanity laden diatribes during the performance, that would end up being 'just icing on the cake'.


  53. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Track I'd least like to be tortured with?

    I'm pretty sure Dick Cheney might say, "We didn't include any tracks from Barney and Friends, so technically, it wasn't torture."

  54. crypt

    Just a thought

    Barbra Streisand

    Pitchshifted and played either at 2X or 3/4 speed.

    Or you could just be an evil bastard and mash up some

    Genghis Tron with Einstürzende Neubauten , Aphex Twin and Faust and play that.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did they legally own the music...

    ... or use pirated/illegal copies? Love to see RIAA chasing US.GOV after an IP address traced back to GITMO was implicated in illegal file sharing

  56. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    John Cage

    With the volume turned right up, of course.

    Alternatively, and more in line with the other suggestions, I once heard "Silent Night" by a heavy metal band (it must have been on the John Peel show) which was truly Awesome. Sadly I don't remember who perpetrated that particular crime against music. (Early 80s, I think, if anyone wants to help out.)

  57. rc

    'Musicians' should be careful what they ask for.

    This could open the way for a flood of law suits against these groups that have been torturing the public with their music for years. "You see your honor, I was in the elevator going to the 24th floor. There was Britney Spears music playing and I couldn't escape." Oh, the humanity....

    It will be good to get out in the open what most of us have known for years. That a lot of this crap isn't music, it's torture. Go ahead 'artists', make our day.

  58. Goat Jam

    Thank God for small mercies

    At least they didn't use The Crazy Frog.

    Or did they? . . . . .

  59. Rattus Rattus

    @ Fatman

    These fish heads... were they roly-poly by any chance?

  60. scottboy


    There's the Smellietubbies: Stinky Winky, Woopsie, Fart fart and Poo.

    Well my 5 year old laughed.

    Mine's the brightly coloured one with the TV screen on the tummy.

  61. kain preacher Silver badge

    think again

    If you think the US is going to pay royalties think again. First they said it happened on foreign soil . ue use in Cuba, oops thats right we don't recognize Cuba . Sue us on American soil , good luck with that, you need permission form the US gov to sue the US gov , they will just claim immunity.,

  62. Bjorn

    @Ken Hagan

    That was Bon Jovi, last track from their second album 7800 fahrenheit, relased in 1985. The following year they had their brakthrough with the slippery when wet album was released.

    As all good poodle rockers they had to include that one slow track for the late night dancing.

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