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Arts and Entertainment

CIA Tortured Prisoners With Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs

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Anthony Kiedis Flea, Josh Klinghoffer and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform at L.A. Live's Club Nokia on August 24, 2011 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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It looks like members of the CIA believe that it's torture listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Senate Intelligence Committee's 6,600-page report on the CIA's detainee interrogation practices after 9/11 revealed some disturbing truths; however, one of the most surprising (and not so surprising) info parsed out was that Red Hot Chili Peppers music was put on an "endless loop" as a torture tactic.

Two U.S. officials under anonymity told Aljazeera the dark details of the full report, which has remained classified. (The Intelligence Committee voted last week for the report's 480-page executive summary to be declassified.) They said that an interrogator used music from the RHCP from May to July 2002 to "batter the detainee’s senses." Prisoner Abu Zubaydah's arms were chained to the ceiling of his prison cell while having to listen to the "loud music" on repeat.

Although we can understand how it's hard to stand the band's frontman Anthony Keidis' horrendous scatting and nonsensical lyrics, it's still a pretty effed up thing to do to in general. The band hasn't commented on the situation yet. And we have no idea which song or songs the CIA used (although we can imagine any RHCP song could suffice—even this parody one a comedian recorded in January.)

It's not a new thing for music being used as a torture weapon. However, musicians all seem to have a different stance on their tunes being used. An Feb. 2013 Esquire interview with the Navy Seal that killed Osama Bin Ladin revealed that in the early days of the Iraq War, they would use Metallica's music to "soften people up before we interrogated them." Spin reported that frontman James Hetfield said he was "proud" and "kind of bummed," while Lars Ulrich said they didn't "advocate or condone" their use of music as a torture weapon.

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When Nine Inch Nail's Trent Reznor found out that the military had used his music on repeat for months at a U.S. Military detention center in Iraq, he was upset. He wrote on his website in 2008 (via Stereogum):

It’s difficult for me to imagine anything more profoundly insulting, demeaning and enraging than discovering music you’ve put your heart and soul into creating has been used for purposes of torture. If there are any legal options that can be realistically taken they will be aggressively pursued, with any potential monetary gains donated to human rights charities. Thank God this country has appeared to side with reason and we can put the Bush administration’s reign of power, greed, lawlessness and madness behind us.

When Skinny Puppy heard that their electro-industrial tunes were used as a "torture device" at Guantanamo Bay, they invoiced the U.S. government for using their music, according to NME.