You Know That Just-Declassified Report on Torture by US Agencies? There’s a Music Component.

Earlier this week, the US government opened up its files on how various agencies have used torture to excise information from prisoners. Sleep deprivation, waterboarding, humiliation techniques–they’re all there. And so is the use of sound. And music.

From Motherboard:

Loud music. It’s the harsh background noise of the US war on terror. The phrase itself—”loud music”—appears 17 times in the ​recently declassified executive summary of a still-classified CIA “torture report.” But while it’s been no secret that the US deployed music across an archipelago of detention centers, black sites, and prisons, to disorient and break the will of detainees, what even is “loud”? And how loud is loud enough?

According to ​a footnote in a 2005 US interrogation program memo, the CIA keeps “detention conditions” at every one of its detention facilities, where detainees are subjected to “white noise/loud sounds (not to exceed 79 decibels)” during portions of interrogations. The 2005 memo also notes that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration figures “no risk of permanent hearing loss from continuous 24-hour-per-day exposure to noise of up to 82 decibels.”

Keep reading.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “You Know That Just-Declassified Report on Torture by US Agencies? There’s a Music Component.

  • December 11, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Read somewhere, they blasted Skinny Puppy 24/7 @ Guantánamo Bay!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.