Wait’ll the Pentagon Gets the Bill From ASCAP

A number of recording artists are demanding that the government release a list of the songs used by the Bush Administration to torture prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

From the Washington Post‘s Joe Heim:

Dozens of musicians endorsed a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the National Security Archive, a Washington-based independent research institute, seeking the declassification of all records related to the use of music in interrogation practices. The artists also launched a formal protest of the use of music in conjunction with torture.

Among the musicians requesting the information are Roseanne Cash, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., the Roots, Jackson Brown, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Billy Bragg, Michelle Branch, T-Bone Burnett, David Byrne, Marc Cohn, Steve Earle, the Entrance Band, Joe Henry and Bonnie Raitt.

It’s hard to disagree with the sentiments of these artists — torture is torture, whether it’s water-boarding, sleep deprivation of aural bombardment. I’d be outraged (not to mention insulted) if my writing were used to torture prisoners.

While the timing may seem odd in that it’s been six years since the U.S. halted the practice of using loud music to torture prisoners, this isn’t the first time musicians have spoken out about this issue. Also, the current efforts are intended to support the ongoing National Campaign to Close Guantanamo.

I have to say, it will be interesting to see what songs were used by interrogators. Whether we’ll ever learn why they were chosen is anyone’s guess.

And just to be clear, the joke in the headline is about ASCAP, not torture.