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Music Is the New Torture: 8 Songs to Break Detainees Down To

If simulated drowning isn't enough, you can add music to America's weapons of mass degradation. Amped-up tunes are used as "sonic bludgeons" at US military prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay.

Songs such as Britney Spears's "Baby One More Time" are turned up and set to repeat to create fear, disorientation, and a prolonged capture shock. It can cause long-term psychiatric problems if blasted for extended periods of time. And it is!

Prisoners, who grew up in Afghanistan under the music-banning Taliban, are hypersensitive. The blasted music leads some to scream and smash their heads against walls. "Plenty," one former prisoner said, "lost their mind."

A Guantanamo interrogator bragged in an FBI memo that he only needed "four days to 'break' someone by alternating 16 hours of loud music with just four hours of silence." So, mission accomplished?

What's Guantanamo breaking down to? To see the top eight songs,


  1. "Born in the USA," Bruce Springsteen
  2. "Babylon," David Gray
  3. "We Are the Champions," Queen
  4. "American Pie," Don McLean
  5. "Stayin' Alive," Bee Gees
  6. "Dirrty," Christina Aguilera
  7. Theme song from Sesame Street
  8. "I Love You" from Barney and Friends


karenpanna karenpanna 8 years
Oh man, if you really want to get to people play "Bohemian Rhapsody" on loop. Though I love Queen's vintage tune from Wayne's World, I can only listen to it every now and then. Could you imagine being stationed in one of these locations? Guard 1: What's going to be played today? Guard 2: You make it sound like we have a DJ or something? We've got screeching divas or overplayed Americana. Guard 3: Again? Can't we get something from the past five years up in here?! I'm really starting to feel my age here.
livline livline 8 years
Brilliant... Altho I cringe whenever I hear Madonna from the 80's... Sorry sugars, I cannot stand that woman's muzak!!
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
yes I its lil wayne!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Ugh remember that period of time where it seemed every rap/hip hop/r&b song had Lil John in it? With his stupid "yeah"'s and "okay"'s. I think that's what killed FM radio for me. :oy:
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Pitbull and Lil John, Jump up lets get crazy.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
:rotfl: blue! how bout anything from soldah boy (however you spell his name)!? Just hearing "YAAh TRICK YAhh!" once drives me insane. or any song that has puff daddy in the background saying "yea...what...bad boooy...yea yea yea...what what what?" :rotfl:
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Ya think so, blue? :p
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I think I think too much. I think.
colormesticky colormesticky 8 years
Old school Spice Girls Beatles "Revolution #9"
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I think a never-ending stream of Holiday music would do me in. I think I've voiced my loathing of that musical genre already.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
Snow, I agree with everything you said about Vanessa. She is a lost cause at this point and nothing but a target for the good characters. And the idea that Nate would pass up J for her? Bleh! That pairing is too boring. Em I would mourn the loss of Lily if it meant we could be rid of Rufus for good. And yeah, I don't buy him as a former 90s Alt rocker either.
em1282 em1282 8 years
kas--me too. Last week's episode only solidified my love for those two crazy kids. I hope they get work after GG and don't go the way of the OC cast members. There was also a rumor floating around that Lily and Rufus would be getting a spin-off. I think that's been debunked, but still--bad idea. I also understand that Rufus is supposed to be a bit out of touch, but seriously? That turtleneck sweater they put him in last week? Unforgivable.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
That is amazing that they use Babylon b/c I freaking hate that song too! That's a riot.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
kas- Vanessa makes me so...ack she is so horribly boring with the "vaguely ethnic" Brooklyn girl shtick. She wears big hoops! She doesn't have parents or go to school! She makes weird faces! And her part is so inconsistently written! Obvs. this is not all the actress's fault, but they need to write her off the show NOW. And Rufus is just like a big boring bowl of oatmeal. 90's rocker indeed...
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
I enjoy Womanizer too. But for 6 hours at full blast? Maybe not so much. BTW Blair and Chuck are totally my favorite characters. Vanessa and Rufus on the other hand should both lapse into comas and die off the show. Caterpillar Any country song would do it for me too. They are like nails on a chalkboard.
em1282 em1282 8 years
Pssst, momma, I like the Womanizer song too. The fact that I also like Gossip Girl, which used the song in one of its promos for my favorite character, totally doesn't help ;)
stephley stephley 8 years
We've become frighteningly desensitized haven't we?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Anything country would make me squeal. and you would only have to play it once.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
hmm../.. What about one of Heidi's song from her album? does she have an album? Surely it must be horrible!
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
"Down at the copa, copacabana..." yes that WOULD drive me crazy!! :oops: I like gets stuck in my head!
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
I'm surprised there's not a Barry Manilow song on that list.
ig586 ig586 8 years
This list surprises me about half of the songs don't seem 'that bad',hell I love Bablylon and american pie. All I know is that one time I fell asleep listening to my Beatles one cd and somehow managed to get 'yellow submarine' stuck on repeat. Needless to say I woke up feeling disoriented and confused, you could definitely use that song to break people.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Anything hardcore would break me.
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