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C.I.A. tortured prisoners with Red Hot Chili Peppers music

on April 10, 2014, 11:56am

It has long been known that the C.I.A. and other government agencies have used rock music as a way to torture prisoners, and a new report from the United States Senate Intelligence Committee confirms the playlist included Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Al Jazeera America reports (via Stereogum) that C.I.A. officials played a continuous loop of Chili Peppers music during the torture of suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah in 2002.

Though the use of music in torture has been banned by the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the practice is still permitted under U.S. law. In response, several bands, including Pearl Jam and R.E.M., have signed a petition demanding the U.S. government end the practice and release a list of the musicians whose work was used in torture. However, Metallica, another band known to have been used in torture, denied charges they asked the C.I.A. to stop using their music. “There has been a lot of talk recently about us asking the military not to use our music to ‘soften people up before interrogation,” the band said in a 2013 statement. “We NEVER commented to the military either way on this matter. Any statements that have been made otherwise are not correct.”

Chili Peppers have yet to respond to our request for comment at the time of publication.

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