The Torture Playlist

The songs that American guards and interrogators used to torture detainees.


Music has been used in American military prisons and on bases to induce sleep deprivation, “prolong capture shock,” disorient detainees during interrogations—and also drown out screams. Based on a leaked interrogation log, news reports, and the accounts of soldiers and detainees, here are some of the songs that guards and interrogators chose. Read about the guards here.

Deicide: Fuck Your God

Dope: Die MF Die, Take Your Best Shot

Eminem: White America, Kim

Barney & Friends: theme song

Drowning Pool: Bodies

Metallica: Enter Sandman

Meow Mix: commercial jingle

Janeane Garofalo/Ben Stiller: chapter from the Feel This Audiobook

Sesame Street: theme song

David Gray: Babylon

AC/DC: Shoot to Thrill, Hell’s Bells

Bee Gees: Stayin’ Alive

Tupac: All Eyez On Me

Christina Aguilera: Dirrty

Neil Diamond: America

Rage Against the Machine: unspecified songs

Don McLean: American Pie

Saliva: Click Click Boom

Matchbox Twenty: Cold

(hed)pe: Swan Dive

Prince: Raspberry Beret

Bonus: Listen to investigative reporter Justine Sharrock explain why the Meow Mix jingle, Neil Diamond, and the Barney theme song all lend themselves to “no-touch torture.” Plus: How Metallica reacted when they found out how their music was being used. —Gary Moskowitz

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.