Tag Archives: CIA interrogations

Gitmo’s Boombox: Does an official “Music Torture” song list actually exist?


DOUBLE STANDARD? When John Cusack bombards his girlfriend's home with music, it's cute. When the CIA uses a boombox, it's torture.

So, a pretentious group of musicians is upset that their music is being used to torment America’s most dangerous enemies?

And now they want the U.S. government to release an official song list?

I can’t imagine that such a document actually exists. Are we supposed to believe that CIA and Pentagon interrogators around the world were issued official playlists by some audio-torture DJ?

It’s a safe bet that the music choices used to keep terrorists awake 24/7 were straight from a gazillion different iPods.

However, Culture Schlock has learned that there WAS an official songlist when the U.S. Army flushed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega out of hiding in 1989.  The psychological warfare guys surrounding the Vatican Embassy during “Operation Just Cause” called in their requests to Army Radio.

How retro.  But before we share that hilarious playlist, check out this Boston Herald column arguing why it’s time to stop apologizing for music torture at Gitmo and at secret CIA detention centers around the globe.

We also believe that the use of the Meow Mix advertising jingle as torture is totally justified and worthy of a smiley face emoticon 🙂

And as an aside, this is also the 20th anniversary of the movie “Say Anything,” in which John Cusack hounds his girlfriend Ione Skye with a boombox blaring “In Your Eyes,” a song unlikely to have been used at Gitmo or Panama.


Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" made this dictator's skin crawl!


(Fully applicable to 2009 interrogations minus the Panama jungle jokes)

1. (You’ve Got) Another Thing Coming — Judas Priest
2. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover — Paul Simon
3. All Over But The Crying — Georgia Satellites
4. All I Want is You — U2
5. Big Shot — Billy Joel
6. Blue Collar Man — Styx
7. Born to Run — Bruce Springsteen
8. Bring Down the Hammer — Georgia Satellites
9. Change — Tears for Fears
10. Cleaning Up The Town — The Bus Boys
11. Crying in the Chapel — Brenda Lee
12. Dancing in the Streets — David Bowie
13. Danger Zone — Kenny Loggins
14. Dead Man’s Party — Oingo Boingo
15. Don’t Look Back — Boston
16. Don’t Fear the Reaper — Blue Oyster Cult
17. Don’t Close Your Eyes — Kix
18. Eat My Shorts — Rick Dees
19. Electric Spanking of War Babies — Funkadelic
20. Feel a Whole Lot Better (When You’re Gone) — Tom Petty
21. Freedom Fighter — White Lion
22. Freedom, No Compromise — Little Steven
23. Ghost Rider — The Outlaws
24. Give It Up — KC and the Sunshine Band
25. Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down — Paul Young
26. Guilty — Bonham
27. Hang ‘Em High — Van Halen
28. Hanging Tough — New Kids on the Block
29. Heavens on Fire — KISS
30. Hello, It’s Me — Todd Rundgren
31. Hello, We’re Here — Tom T. Hall
32. Helter Skelter — The Beatles
33. I Fought The Law and the Law Won — Bobby Fuller
34. If I Had a Rocket Launcher — Bruce Cochran
35. In My Time of Dying — Led Zeppelin
36. Ironman — Black Sabbath
37. It Keeps You Running — Doobie Brothers
38. Judgment Day — Whitesnake
39. Jungle Love — Steve Miller Band
40. Just Like Jesse James — Cher
41. Mayor of Simpleton — XTC
42. Midnight Rider — Allmond Brothers Band
43. Mr. Blue — The Fleetwoods
44. Naughty Naughty — Danger Danger
45. Never Gonna Give You Up — Rick Astley
46. Never Tear Us Apart — INXS
47. No Particular Place to Go — Chuck Berry
48. No More Mister Nice Guy — Alice Cooper
49. No Alibis — Eric Clapton
50. Now You’re Messin’ With an SOB — Nazareth
51. Nowhere Man — The Beatles
52. Nowhere to Run — Martha and the Vandelas
53. One Way Ticket — George Thorogood and the Destroyers
54. Panama — Van Halen
55. Paradise City — Guns N’ Roses
56. Paranoid — Black Sabbath
57. Patience — Guns N’ Roses
58. Poor Little Fool — Ricky Nelson
59. Prisoner of the Highway — Ronnie Milsap
60. Prisoner of Rock and Roll — Neil Young
61. Refugee — Tom Petty
62. Renegade — Styx
63. Rock and a Hard Place — The Rolling Stones
64. Run to the Hills — Iron Maiden
65. Run Like Hell — Pink Floyd
66. Screaming for Vengeance — Judas Priest
67. She’s Got a Big Posse — Arabian Prince
68. Shot in the Dark — Ozzy Osbourne
69. Stay Hungry — Twisted Sister
70. Taking It To The Streets — Doobie Brothers
71. The Party’s Over — Journey
72. The Race is On — Sawyer Brown
73. The Pusher — Steppenwolf
74. The Long Arm of the Law — Warren Zevon
75. The Star Spangled Banner — Jimi Hendrix
76. The Secret of My Success — Night Ranger
77. They’re Coming to Take Me Away — Henry VIII
78. This Means War — Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
79. Time is on My Side — Rolling Stones
80. Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die — Jethro Tull
81. Voodoo Child — Jimi Hendrix
82. Wait for You — Bonham
83. Waiting for a Friend — Jimi Hendrix
84. Wanted Dead or Alive — Bon Jovi
85. Wanted Man — Molly Hatchet
86. War Pigs — Black Sabbath
87. We Didn’t Start the Fire — Billy Joel
88. We Gotta Get Out of This Place — The Animals
89. Who Will You Run To? — Heart
90. You Send Me — Sam Cook
91. You Shook Me All Night Long — AC/DC
92. You Hurt Me (And I Hate You) — The Eurythmics
93. You Got Lucky — Tom Petty
94. Your Time is Gonna Come — Led Zeppelin
95. Youth Gone Wild — Skid Row

SOURCE: U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs report about SouthCom Network Radio’s involvement in Operation Just Cause. PDFs of the document are posted at George Washington University’s National Security Archive.


Artists such as REM, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and David Byrne have not made a squawk about the beheading and torture of Americans, but they are ready to march on Washington when the Guantanamo Bay jukebox is played a little too loud.


Jules Crittenden’s FORWARD MOVEMENT — “Twenty days of Slim Shady? That does sound like torture. I don’t think I’d last 20 minutes. But as Garnick suggests, it beats the heck out of being an extra in a jihadi music vid while getting your head sawed off, your vehicle blown up, or your lower Manhattan office tower vaporized.”

Solomon’s SOLOMONIA — “Maybe they should substitute (The Talking Heads) David Byrne’s big white (shoulderpads) suit for those horrid orange jump suits. Remember the big white suit? “You want us to wear what? I’ll talk!!”

MondoReb’s DEATH BY A THOUSAND PAPERCUTS — “Torture music is all in the ears of the beheader.”

David Goldstein’s OUR ANNOYING WORLD — “Billy Bragg? Let’s face the facts, Billy. These days, Gitmo detainees forced to endure your music probably accounts for at least 75% of your listening audience. There’s a time to be sanctimonious and a time to be grateful.”

And a bonus historical essay for context:The Use of Music in Psychological Operations,” at PsyWarrior.com

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Filed under Asinine Mideast Analogies, Musical Torture