Canadian electro-industrial band, Skinny Puppy, has invoiced the US government for $666,000, after its music was used at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility as an instrument of torture.
The band says its music has been played at the Guantanamo base in Cuba as part of the interrogation process for detainees. The facility was set up in 2002, in the wake of the 9/11 US terrorist attacks.
“We sent them an invoice for our musical services considering they had gone ahead and used our music without our knowledge and used it as an actual weapon against somebody,” keyboardist Cevin Key told CTV News.
“I am not only against the fact they're using our music to inflict damage on somebody else, but they are doing it without anybody's permission,” he added.
Key had ‘insider knowledge’ regarding the usage of his music, learning from a fan who also served as a guard at the prison camp that the music had been used. After sending the documents to the Pentagon, Key said that they are even contemplating the possibility of a lawsuit.
A US military spokesperson told the BBC on Wednesday that it had not – at that point – received an invoice.
The US military has fallen under sharp criticism for its ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ employed at the facility.
Among more serious methods such as waterboarding, which was classified as torture by United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, in 2010 – it has also been reported that the US military has been blasting other loud bands into the cells of detainees – including Metallica, Nine Inch Nails – but also Queen and Sesame Street.
A 2006 anonymous interview with US service staff showed that it was Metallica that had become their band of choice “to soften up” suspects before an interrogation.
“If there are people that are dumb enough to use Metallica to interrogate prisoners, you're forgetting about all the music that's to the left of us. I can name, you know, thirty Norwegian death metal bands that would make Metallica sound like Simon & Garfunkel,” retorted a defensive Lars Ulrich, the drummer for the band.
A US Army general who allegedly authorized the practice of blasting loud music into cells said it would “create fear, disorient... and prolong capture shock,” according to the Associated Press.
January 11 marked twelve years since the first detainees arrived at the camp, prompting US human rights activists to march on the White House, citing the need for the facility’s closure.
Out of 779 detainees held at Guantanamo in the past 12 years, only 7 have actually been convicted and sentenced. Frustration with the indefinite detention was at the core of last year’s massive and months-long hunger strike, which was initially sparked by accusations that guards had interfered with the inmates’ personal belongings; this included the mishandling of Korans.