Guantanamo Bay Prisoners Were Tortured With Sesame Street Songs [Video]

Sesame Street songs helped the US government break prisoners at Guantanamo in 2003, a new film from Al Jazeera World revealed.

A new 45-minute documentary from Al Jazeera shows that Sesame Street songs have been used since 2003 to “break” prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay.

Human Rights researcher Thomas Keenan explained that prisoners were attached to chairs, left alone with the music blaring through headphones for up to days on end, reports Business Insider.

“Prisoners were forced to put on headphones. They were attached to chairs, headphones were attached to their heads, and they were left alone just with the music for very long periods of time. Sometimes hours, even days on end, listening to repeated loud music,” Keenan said.

“The music was so loud,” Moazzam Begg, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay and Bagram, says, according to The Daily Call. “And it was probably some of the worst torture that they faced.”

Award-winning composer Christopher Cerf has created music for the famous children’s television show Sesame Street for 40 years.

Cerf has won two Grammy Awards and three Emmy Awards for his music, reports Global Post. Cerg has written more than 200 songs for that help to teach children to read, write and speak in multiple languages.

Cerf was stunned to learn how his music was being exploited.

“My first reaction was this just can’t possibly be true,” he told Al Jazeera. “…Of course I didn’t really like the idea that I was helping break down prisoners, but it was much worse when I heard later that they were actually using the music in Guantanamo to actually do deep, long-term interrogations and obviously to inflict enough pain on prisoners so they would talk.”

“In Guantanamo they actually used music to break prisoners. So the idea that my music had a role in that is kind of outrageous,” he says. “This is fascinating to me both because of the horror of music being perverted to serve evil purposes if you like, but I’m also interested in how that’s done. What is it about music that would make it work for that purpose?”

The composer embarked on a journey to learn just what it is that makes music such a powerful stimulant.

He spoke to soldiers, psychologists and prisoners tortured with his music at Guantanamo Bay and found out how the military has been employing music as a potent weapon for hundreds of years.

The Huff Post reports that this isn’t the first time that music from Sesame Street has been used to break the will of prisoners. In 2003, the U.S. reportedly used the soundtrack to soften up Iraqi POWs.

According to other reports in 2008 the detainees at Guantanamo Bay had been tortured by songs such as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Drowning Pool’s “Bodies.”

US forces also used songs like “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen, “White America” by Eminem and “I love You” from Barney and Friends to torture detainees.

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello told concertgoers he opposed torture of any kind after he learned about the methods American forces used.

“I suggest that they level Guantanamo Bay, but they keep one small cell and they put (former President George W.) Bush in there … and they blast some Rage Against the Machine,” he said.

Al Jazeera’s “Songs of War” debuted May 29 on the news channel, and it will be rebroadcast throughout the week.

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