December 10, 2008

Torture By Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie...

A ban on torture by rock music (see below)?

Hey, if it works, we say crank up the music, damn the torpedoes and remind 'em that payback's a bummer. If it doesn't, well, then apologize... after the fact.

The Geneva Convention wasn't meant to be a Declaration of Stupidity.  |  December 10, 2008

Music To Our Ears

War On Terror: Rock musicians are protesting the use of their music as an interrogation technique on captured jihadists. Tell us where the bomb is, Khalid, or we play "Disco Duck" one more time.

In the 1961 Billy Wilder film comedy "One, Two, Three," a character suspected of being a spy is tortured by East German police who play the song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" over and over, eventually with the record off-center to create a weird, howling variation of pitch.

On Wednesday, life imitated art when groups such as Massive Attack and musicians like Tom Morello, a guitarist who once played with Rage Against the Machine, announced a campaign against the use of their music, or any music, as one of those "enhanced interrogation techniques" used to interrogate enemy combatants captured in the war on terror.

This technique has been employed frequently on hundreds of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo. It was particularly successful when used in Afghanistan against terrorists who came of age under Taliban rule, where music was forbidden.

But it was not merely head-banging rock anthems that were employed. Barney the purple dinosaur singing "I Love You," which has driven many a parent loony, was also employed.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then U.S. military commander in Iraq, OK'd the technique in 2003 "to create fear, disorient ... and prolong capture shock." Forget waterboarding or sleep deprivation. Death Cab For Cuties' greatest hits can be just as effective on unaccustomed and unappreciative ears.

Complaints that playing loud music is torture in violation of the Geneva Convention are not new.

Time magazine whined in a 2005 issue that torture techniques used at Guantanamo in the interrogation of detainee Mohammed al Qahtani included playing music by pop diva Christina Aguilera.

Al Qahtani, also known as Detainee 063, had tried to enter the U.S. via Orlando International Airport in August 2001 when he was stopped by suspicious immigration officials. Just yards away, waiting to pick him up, was 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta.

Al Qahtani was to have been the fifth hijacker on United Airlines Flight 93, the "muscle" charged with guarding the cockpit door. Had he been there, the passenger rebellion that steered the 757 into a Pennsylvania field might have been unsuccessful. Had Atta collected him in Orlando, Flight 93 might have reached its destination and plowed into the U.S. Capitol.

Not all musicians share the angst of the bleeding harps. Bassist Stevie Benton, whose group Drowning Pool has performed in Iraq, is proud that their "Bodies" is an interrogator favorite. "I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that."

So do we. Keeping America safe from another 9/11 should be everyone's top priority. If it requires forcing those who would kill us and our children to listen to a purple dinosaur or the rock group du jour, crank up the band.

Original article here.


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