A handful of musicians have joined up with the movement to close Guantanamo, protesting the reported use of loud music to soften up detainees for interrogation. The group includes Trent Reznor, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, David Byrne, Jackson Browne, Rise Against, Rosanne Cash, Billy Bragg, the Roots, Tom Morello, Michelle Branch, Steve Earlie, Rise Against, the Entrance Band, Joe Henry, Rise Against, and T-Bone Burnett.
According to accounts of detainee treatment, loud music was part of the regimen for some prisoners held there, as part of the U.S. government's reverse-engineering of the SERE program, which trains officers how to resist such techniques if captured by enemies. The selection has allegedly included Metallica, Britney Spears, Eminem and Dr. Dre, Bruce Springsteen, the Bee Gees, Nine Inch Nails, and Rage Against the Machine. Music has been used along with flashing lights to disorient prisoners and deteriorate their mental faculties.
"The fact that music I helped create was used in crimes against humanity sickens me-- we need to end torture and close Guantanamo now," said Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello.
The musicians joined the newly launched National Campaign to Close Guantanamo pressuring Congress to cooperate with the Obama administration in closing the prison, spearheaded by anti-war activist and former Congressman Tom Andrews along with Lt. Gen Robert Gard (ret.).
President Obama signed an executive order on January 22, 2009 to close the prison within one year. The administration has proceeded with a review of detainees and where they can be transferred, while House Republicans launched a campaign earlier this year against Guantanamo's closure, proposing that Congress should de-fund the administration's efforts to do so. The group has called for Guantanamo's immediate closure, launching a TV ad two days ago.
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