Let’s Stop Apologizing for Music Torture at Gitmo

By Darren Garnick | Related entries in Guantanamo Bay, Kitchen Sink, Music, National Security, News, Torture

DOUBLE STANDARD? When John Cusack bombards his girlfriend's home with music, it's cute. When the CIA uses a boombox, it's torture.

So, a pretentious group of musicians is upset that their music is being used to torment America’s most dangerous enemies?

And now they want the U.S. government to release an official song list?

I can’t imagine that such a document actually exists. Are we supposed to believe that CIA and Pentagon interrogators around the world were issued official playlists by some audio-torture DJ?

It’s a safe bet that the music choices used to keep terrorists awake 24/7 were straight from a gazillion different iPods.

However, there WAS an official songlist when the U.S. Army flushed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega out of hiding in 1989. The psychological warfare guys surrounding the Vatican Embassy during “Operation Just Cause” called in their requests to Army Radio.

How retro.


Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" made this dictator's skin crawl!


Straight from U.S. Army records, here is a portion of the radio playlist used to annoy Manuel Noriega.

1. (You’ve Got) Another Thing Coming — Judas Priest
2. All I Want is You — U2
3. Big Shot — Billy Joel
4. Born to Run — Bruce Springsteen
5. Bring Down the Hammer — Georgia Satellites
6. Don’t Look Back — Boston
7. Don’t Fear the Reaper — Blue Oyster Cult
8. Eat My Shorts — Rick Dees
9. Feel a Whole Lot Better (When You’re Gone) — Tom Petty
10. Give It Up — KC and the Sunshine Band
11. Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down — Paul Young
12. Guilty — Bonham
13. Hang ‘Em High — Van Halen
14. Hanging Tough — New Kids on the Block
15. I Fought The Law and the Law Won — Bobby Fuller
16. Judgment Day — Whitesnake
17. Never Gonna Give You Up — Rick Astley
18. No More Mister Nice Guy — Alice Cooper
19. Panama — Van Halen
20. Paranoid — Black Sabbath
21. Stay Hungry — Twisted Sister
22. The Party’s Over — Journey
23. The Star Spangled Banner — Jimi Hendrix
24. They’re Coming to Take Me Away — Henry VIII
25. Time is on My Side — Rolling Stones
26. Wanted Dead or Alive — Bon Jovi
27. We Didn’t Start the Fire — Billy Joel
28. We Gotta Get Out of This Place — The Animals
29. Who Will You Run To? — Heart

Who knew that Billy Joel and New Kids on the Block would ever serve their country so effectively?

Wanna see the full list of Noriega torture tunes?  CLICK HERE.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 and is filed under Guantanamo Bay, Kitchen Sink, Music, National Security, News, Torture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

17 Responses to “Let’s Stop Apologizing for Music Torture at Gitmo”

  1. Mike A. Says:

    Wow, great playlist.

  2. Jacob Says:

    So Noriega got Rickrolled?

  3. michael reynolds Says:

    Psychological warfare. Right.

    Couldn’t be that the soldiers were bored and wanted to listen to some tunes while they waited for Noriega to come out. No doubt while waiting they also carried out “psychological warfare” involving the drinking of beer, the smoking of cigarettes and the playing of poker.

  4. Tweets that mention Donklephant » Blog Archive » Let’s Stop Apologizing for Music Torture at Gitmo -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Justin Gardner, Mr. Meta. Mr. Meta said: DONKLEPHANT: Let’s Stop Apologizing for Music Torture at Gitmo http://ow.ly/15XTH0 [...]

  5. the Word Says:

    I guess the obvious difference is that Peter Gabriel would NEVER be torture.

  6. Mike A. Says:

    I think the CIA should put out a CD set: The Torture Series, 1989, etc.

  7. Aaron Says:

    Mike: I’d buy it.

  8. Jimbo Says:

    Whoa…Billy Joel?

    Where was Human Rights Watch?

  9. Chris Says:

    I think the point isn’t the music playlist, more that we’re torturing people, many innocent.

    Congrats for not getting it though.

  10. rob Says:

    I know the eighties weren’t great, but I’d hardly consider them torture.

  11. kranky kritter Says:

    I think this list shows we’re not all that serious about generating anything more than some nuisance noise.

    If we really wanted to disturb our enemies with music, this list would look a lot different. For example some experimental rock from the late 60s and early 70s could cleaar out a room (or an island) in minutes. Really dreadful stuff. And dreadfully bad’s only one way to go. There’s also well crafted music designed to disturb.

  12. blackout Says:

    Clearly the author of this piece isn’t familiar with PROs. Here’s hoping the military got a performance-rights license or BMI will make the World Court look like small claims. Yes, this is sarcasm.

  13. mike mcEachran Says:

    “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley is torture. We’re better than that.

  14. the Word Says:

    They could have played Feelings by Morris Alpert but I am sure that would be over the top even for Cheney.

  15. skeptic Says:

    Torture is funny and artists who don’t want to be associated with torturing people are pretentious whiners. Hey, you got any good child molestation jokes? Perhaps you have an equally irreverent and hysterical take on the Darfur genocide?

  16. Marvin Says:

    It seems like it would be more torturous to just play the same song over and over again. Especially a really annoying song… Something with a really catchy hook that just drills into your brain.

    This playlist is too varied and has too many really good tunes no it to be properly torturous. Bad job.

  17. The Worst Kind of Torture | Political Violence @ a Glance Says:

    […] siege of the Japanese ambassador’s residence. Noriega, the ex-Panamanian dictator, received his own playlist in the late 1980s,[3] which included gems like “Don’t Fear the Reaper”[4] and “Never Gonna […]

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