11 Popular Songs the CIA Used

You know how much I like lists. I thought this list was pretty interesting.

11 Popular Songs the CIA Used to Torture Prisoners in the War on Terror

By Tom Barnes

Imagine you are chained with your hands between your legs, crouching. You’re isolated in a small, dark room with earphones you can’t take off. Queen’s “We Are the Champions” has been playing on repeat for 30 hours now at full volume, and you’ve lost your ability to think. It could go on for months.

Music torture has been common practice for the CIA ever since it began its “enhanced interrogation program” in the early 2000s. The process is designed to “create fear, disorient … and prolong capture shock” in prisoners.

Sgt. Mark Hadsell, a member of the U.S. Psychological Operations team, described the efficacy of the tactic: “If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That’s when we come in and talk to them.” 

Any torture method is of debatable merit — music torture was, in part, popular because it seemed more palatable to the public. But to hear about the experience of people who’ve been subjected to these songs is to see just how terrible it is to have a beloved song turned against you.

Here are 11 songs that have been turned into torture devices.

1. “The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem

2. “Take Your Best Shot” by Dope

3. “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera

4. “Zikrayati (My Memories)” by Mohamed el-Qasabgi

5. “Babylon” by David Grey

6. “I Love You” by The Barney Theme

7. “Saturday Night Fever” by the Bee Gees

8. The Meow Mix theme

9. “The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson

10. “F*%k Your God” by Deicide

11. “We Are the Champions” by Queen

There are several songs listed above that would push me over the edge.

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