What Songs Do The Cia Use For Torture

CIA and Torture Songs

The use of torture to extract information from “high-value” criminals has remained an enduring, controversial debate within international law. Historically, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has employed various techniques to break and “soften up” prisoners—particularly during the “War on Terror” – including periods of sensory deprivation, uncomfortable stress positions and sleep deprivation.

Music has also been a popular means of psychological torture that the CIA has wielded over oppressed persons. In fact, some prisoners have claimed that being tortured with loud, unfamiliar music was one of the most disturbing methods of interrogation.

Many reports suggest that the CIA strategically used certain songs for torture—in some cases for days on end and at incredibly loud volumes. For example, some prisoners report being subjected to “heavy metal” songs from the band Metallica, such as “Enter Sandman.” In other cases, victims report being blasted with rap music from artists such as Dr. Dre and Eminem.

Music has been used to harshly interrogate terror suspects since 2002, when the CIA began waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the founder of al-Qaeda. He was reported to be subjected to the ethnic punk band The Easybeats—a form of music he wasn’t particularly familiar with as he comes from a different culture. Similarly, according to his testimony, John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent, says he saw other prisoners being tortured with familiar American music.

However, not all experts agree that such torture methods are effective. Dr. Geb Ellis, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, cautions:
“Although the use of music as a form of torture might initially be more effective for eliciting information, in reality, the information obtained through such methods is ultimately inaccurate and unreliable.”

Dr. Ellis adds, “Compromising one’s integrity has a lasting effect on the structure of their psyche, which could lead to more severe mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Many experts also recommend that music should be used instead of, not in addition to, traditional interrogation tactics. The practice of playing music during interrogation is sometimes used to break down workers and make them more susceptible to talking. This is typically done by playing a loop of a specific song that is familiar to the prisoner, thereby desensitizing them. However, playing music during interrogation can have an adverse reaction – causing prisoners to become more anxious, anxious or anxious.

Scientists and psychologists continue to analyze and debate the effects of torture techniques on prisoners, particularly with regards to CIA techniques used in the past. Music has emerged as an important tool in interrogations, providing a source of emotional pain that cannot be achieved through more typical means.

Other Forms of Torture

The ethical dimensions of psychological torture remain a highly contested issue within the fields of international law and psychology. While the CIA’s use of torture has received considerable attention, less has been said of other methods. Of these, sleep deprivation has become an increasingly common form of psychological torture that the agency has used in its efforts to break prisoners down.

Sleep deprivation can involve keeping prisoners awake for extended lengths of time, sometimes even up to forty-eight hours at a stretch. The goal of sleep deprivation is to break down a prisoner’s ability to think rationally and to render them more vulnerable to suggestion. It is a form of torture that can have lasting psychological effects on the victims.

Another form of torture used by the CIA is “stress positions”, in which prisoners are forced to maintain uncomfortable physical postures for extended periods of time. This can be uncomfortable, painful and humiliating for the victim and is another way for the interrogator to gain a sense of control over their subject.

In some cases, the CIA has used “waterboarding” techniques to terrify journalists and extract information. This involves the process of immobilizing a prisoner and submerging their face in water while they are blindfolded and helpless. This form of torture has been condemned by human rights organizations as one of the most dehumanizing acts a person can suffer.

Modern Legislation on Torture

The use of torture techniques is illegal in many countries, and international law—including the United Nations Convention Against Torture—protects people from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The Geneva Conventions and other treaties prohibit the use of torture and cruel punishment to extract confessions or other information from individuals.

In the United States, in particular, the use of torture techniques under the Bush Administration during the War on Terror came under sharp criticism from the international community and human rights activists. In the Obama Administration, a new law banning torture was passed, and the CIA was prevented from using torture methods to extract information from prisoners.

Despite these measures, there is still a great deal of debate regarding the effectiveness of these measures and the legality of torture by the CIA. Legal experts, human rights activists and psychologists continue to debate whether any form of psychological torture can ever be justified and if the CIA should be held accountable for the torture techniques they inflict on prisoners.

Psychological Effects of Torture

The psychological effects of torture, particularly those related to the CIA’s use of music for torture, are wide-reaching and can often be long-lasting. Various studies have shown that victims of psychological torture can suffer from anxiety, depression, trauma and PTSD. Those who were tortured with music can suffer from intense psychological trauma and are more likely to develop mental health issues, including flashbacks, panic attacks and other forms of mental distress.

Dr. Karen Perkins, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, says that the lasting effects of psychological torture can include, “long-term depression, anxiety and fear.” She adds, “Victims are more likely to develop psychological issues such as PTSD, hypervigilance and suicidal tendencies.”

The use of torture techniques, including music-based techniques, can have a devastating impact on the prisoner’s mental health. These effects can be particularly acute in those who have already experienced the psychological devastation of war. The use of music as a form of torture can also be culturally insensitive, as it often relies on playing music from foreign cultures and genres, which can be particularly traumatic for prisoners from different backgrounds.

Use of Music for Healing

In light of the lasting psychological effects of torture, some experts and activists have begun to promote the use of music for healing and therapy. Music therapists, for instance, use the power of music to help those who have been traumatized by torture or violence.

Sharon Ballard, a music therapist for the PTSD Center in Philadelphia, believes that music can be used to reconnect a person to their true emotions, and help them process the trauma they have experienced. She says, “Music therapy can help someone to feel safe, provide them with a soothing and uplifting environment and eventually, begin to process the trauma they have experienced.”

Music therapists are now working with torture survivors to help them heal and recover. Through carefully-selected music and creative music-making exercises, these professionals aim to help their clients to express pain, fear and sorrow in a safe and healing environment.

Music has also been used to help prisoners in detention centers and prisons express their pain and distress. Through songs, prisoners can talk about their experiences of injustice, trauma and suffering. This helps them to process their experiences in a safe and supportive environment, providing lasting healing and relief from psychological distress.


The use of music for torture has been an enduring debate within international law and the field of psychology. Such techniques are illegal in many countries, and the CIA’s tactics have come under sharp criticism from human rights activists. Despite current efforts to ban the use of torture, some experts argue that the techniques remain in-use.

Moreover, the psychological effects of torture can be long-lasting and intense, leading to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. Music therapists are now working with survivors of torture to help them heal through creative music exercises and creative music-making.

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Rosemary Harrold is an accomplished writer and researcher who is both passionate and knowledgeable about the world of secret services. She gained an MSc in International Relations in 2017 and has since built on her expertise with numerous publications on intelligence agencies, their practices, and recent developments. Rosemary has been writing about IBM, CIA and FBI activities since then, as well as providing in-depth analysis on intelligence-related topics.

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