Musicians, including R.E.M and Pearl Jam, launched a formal protest of the use of music used in conjunction with torture that took place at Guantanamo Bay and other facilities. And they’ve announced they are supporting an effort seeking the declassification of all secret government records pertaining to how music was utilized as an interrogation device.
Both Tom Morello and Trent Reznor–the music of Rage Against the Machine and Nine Inch Nails were used as part the torture of inmates–are involved in the campaign. Says Morello in a statement:Guantanamo is known around the world as one of the places where human beings have been tortured – from water boarding, to stripping, hooding and forcing detainees into humiliating sexual acts – playing music for 72 hours in a row at volumes just below that to shatter the ear drums.
Morello, Rage Against the Machine’s guitarist, adds:Guantanamo may be Dick Cheney’s idea of America, but it’s not mine. The fact that music I helped create was used in crimes against humanity sickens me – we need to end torture and close Guantanamo now.
Also on board united in finding out about the abuse: Jackson Browne, Billy Bragg, Michelle Branch, T-Bone Burnett, David Byrne, Rosanne Cash, Marc Cohn, Steve Earle, the Entrance Band, Joe Henry, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, R.E.M., Rise Against, and The Roots. The campaign was organized by long time music fan and political organizer Trevor FitzGibbon.
You can go here to sign a letter, joining the musicians who are speaking out against torture and advocating the closure of the prison facility in Guantanamo Bay.
Here is what R.E.M has to say:
We signed onto the campaign in complete support of President Obama and the military leaders who have called for an end to torture and to close Guantanamo. As long as Guantanamo stays open, America’s legacy around the world will continue to be the torture that went on there. We have spent the past 30 years supporting causes related to peace and justice – to now learn that some of our friends’ music may have been used as part of the torture tactics without their consent or knowledge, is horrific. It’s anti-American, period.
and from the Roots:
When we found out that music was being used as part of the torture going on at Guantanamo, shackling and beating people - we were angry. Just as we wouldn’t be caught dead allowing Dick Cheney to use our music for his campaigns, you can be damn sure, we wouldn’t allow him to use it to torture other human beings. Congress needs to shut Guantanamo down.