Friday, December 12, 2008

More on Sonic Torture

In the new journal Nyx - a noctournal (produced by people associated with the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, New Cross), Mark Teare writes A Chapter in the Secret History of a Musick Yet To Be:

'Music's abilities to connect with the emotions and to alter our psychological state are being exploited and perverted in a number of ways in a variety of locations, from office or commercial spaces to clandestine interrogation cells. What we generally consider to be a harmless form of creative expression becomes a tool, coldly employed in the manipulation and control of populations, numb from the constant stimulus of programmed information'.

Teare mentions a number of uses of music as instrument of torture/warfare: in Panama 1993, when invading US forces surrounding the building where the dictator/former US client Manuel Noriega was holed up where 'troops bombarded the embassy with constant loud heavy rock music in an effort to drive Noriega out'; in the same year at the FBI siege at Waco, Texas, where the Branch Davidians 'were treated to marathon sessions of loud music in order to disturb their sleeping patterns and break morale inside the camp'; and in Iraq during the Fallujah offensive in 2004 when 'US troops engaged in psychological operations' used 'high powered speakers mounted on tanks and humvees'to play 'AC/DC, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Eminem and Barney the Purple Dinosaur at high volume for long stretches of time to disorientate and confuse the enemy'.

See also: Against Music Torture

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