Friday 19 December 2008

This is what a year sounds like…

…if you are a detainee of the War On Terror:

AC/DC - Hells Bells, Shoot To Thrill
Barney The Purple Dinosaur - Theme Tune
Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
Britney Spears
Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA
Christina Aguilera - Dirrty
David Gray - Babylon
Deicide - Fuck Your God
Don McLean - American Pie
Dope - Die MF Die, Take Your Best Shot
Dr. Dre
Drowning Pools - Bodies
Eminem - Kim, Slim Shady, White America
Li'l Kim
Limp Bizkit
Matchbox Twenty - Gold
Meat Loaf
Metallica - Enter Sandman
Neil Diamond - America
Nine Inch Nails - March Of The Pigs, Mr. Self-Destruct
Prince - Raspberry Beret
Queen - We Are The Champions
Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name Of
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Saliva - Click Click Boom
Sesame Street - Theme Tune
Tupac - All Eyes On Me

Join the silent protest against music being used as a form of torture by creating a 5 second silent protest film on camcorder or mobile phone and upload it to zero db. Those without video recording equipment can still sign the petition at the same location.

Dubdog's protest will be uploaded shortly.

Screenshots of silent protesters on

Dublog's annual 'This is what a year sounds like' for 2008 will appear here shortly. 


Steven Ball said...

Maybe I'm missing something here, but aren't there rather more serious and damaging forms of torture to be protesting about?

Dubdog said...

Hmmm, the psychological torture of being played, at ear splitting volume, for over 20 hours a day, Barney The Purple Dinosaur, is unimaginable. But on a serious note, (even though that is serious), read the testimonials on the Zero dB site. An ex-detainee of Guantanamo Bay from the UK has added a testimonial so I don't think this is some glib protest.

I first heard about this as a form of torture in an article in the Guardian earlier this year and it sounds pretty horrendous. Psychological torture of the highest order and look at it this way, if the CIA invented it and it has been used by the British Army in Northern Ireland and against Palestinian prisoners in Israel then the perpetrators don't think of it as being 'less' serious than other forms of torture. And it doesn't leave any bruises remember, not on the surface anyway.

And as far as creatives go, what governments get up to, we are largely uninvolved. We don't design the equipment or invent the techniques, however, in this case the music is being used without the permission of the authors (excepting Metallica). So, even though personally you and I aren't involved, collectively it could be any of us. The principle that our creative output could be used, against our will, for something we utterly disagree with, were we suddenly find we are somehow complicit, is disturbing. Obviously not as disturbing as having your fingernails pulled out while we sit in our comfortable surroundings in front of our Macs with 24hr access to free downlaods, but…

Further to this, by definition, if you are against one form of torture, then surely you can't be 'for' other sort. So, as a starting point, if you aren't already involved in some sort of protest against torture, then this is as good a starting point as any. It is a real issue. And like any form of protest, if you can raise awareness in one area, it will have obvious awareness raising results for others.

Steven Ball said...

Well I guess you have a point. In terms of the music they use, the choice does seem a little odd, I mean one might think that they would be more inclined to use, say Merzbow or Whitehouse, music that is made with the intention of causing discomfort or some level of distress, presumably the songs are chosen for some kind of misplaced notion of irony judging from the titles. Are you suggesting that Metallica has given its permission to use its music as torture though? I don't think it's necessarily correct to say that we are complicit if something we have made is used against our will though. I mean I'm sure that most Hindus would be pretty pissed off that the Nazis appropriated the swastika, but that doesn't make Hinduism complicit in the death camps.

You're unlikely to agree with me, but I am a little skeptical about the likelihood of protest to do very much to prevent any sort of torture that arises in situations like Guantanamo. The CIA didn't invent it, it's a practice that dates back beyond the Nazis, beyond the Dark Ages to at least Roman times. That's when the process of creating the 'State of Exception', where the individual is placed outside of the normal workings of the law dates from, extraordinary rendition is nothing new and it is the condition that makes torture possible, that gives the perpetrators the conditions, physical and legalistically, to carry it out. Giorgio Agabem writes about this and describes the condition of 'bare life', which is to say, life reduced to nothing but life, stripped of all rights, all dignity, all protection. My point being, I guess, that the fuckers will find a way to do it whatever protests or awareness raising goes on. Of course I'm not suggesting that one shouldn't protest.

Dubdog said...

Far from disagreeing, I am also extremely skeptical about protest's ability to do much in this, or many cases, regardless of merit of the cause. Having been involved in several protest movements in the past and seen little change and become completely disillusioned with the sort of people who get involved with protest movements and their reasons for getting involved, I doubt this will have any effect other than appeasing a few liberal consciences. Never the less, to say nothing sticks in my throat.

Fair point about the use of the word complicit, wrong choice. I was thinking more of being indirectly involved having made, albeit an unwilling and unknown, contribution to the problem.

"James Hetfield of Metallica…In a radio interview in November 2004, he said that he was "proud" that the military had used his music (even though they "hadn't asked his permission or paid him royalties"), adding, "If the Iraqis aren't used to freedom, then I'm glad to be part of their exposure," from [accessed 20.12.08]

Last point: see the Guardian article yesterday about the Attorney General thinking of trying to change the law after too many Juries have sided with environmental protesters when they've argued they are preventing a bigger crime by causing criminal damage? If democracy doesn't go the right way, well, just change the fucking law!

Steven Ball said...

Well I think you've kind of hit the nail on the head with "...appeasing a few liberal consciences...". There's also certain vanity in having one's name and face appearing as a protester, morality as vanity, like celebrities who support charities. There's something self-regarding about making sure that the world see your name on a petition. That's why I've protested in disguise (but don't tell anyone).