FOIA Request: What's on the Pentagon's Playlist?

By Joel Zand on October 22, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

What's on the Pentagon's playlist?

The National Security Archive, and a coalition of high-profile music artists and band members want to know, particularly when it comes to detainee interrogations.

The artists and bands are going on record to close Camp X-Ray, the Pentagon's Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention facility for terror detainees captured oversees.  They are extremely angered that their music either already has been, or may have been, used to help the Pentagon conduct detainee interrogations and, they maintain, may have played at excessively loud levels and for long periods of time to torture detainees.

They include:

    • Pearl Jam
    • R.E.M.
    • Bonnie Raitt
    • Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine)
    • Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)
    • Roseanne Cash
    • The Roots
    • Michelle Branch
    • Jackson Brown
    • T-Bone Burnett
    • David Byrne (The Talking Heads)
    • Marc Cohn
    • Steve Earle
    • The Entrance Band, and
    • Joe Henry

You can read the FOIA request here:

Roseanne Cash said, in a prepared statement, that "music should never be used as torture. It's beyond the pale. It's hard to even think about."

In a prepared statement, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine stated that "the fact that music I helped create was used in crimes against humanity sickens me - we need to end torture and close Guantanamo now."

A query by FindLaw about whether musicians intend to litigate over use of their work during detainee interrogations and/or torture has, so far, not been answered.

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