Britney Spears, Marilyn Manson, & Nine Inch Nails Songs Used For Detention Center Interrogations

A story that gives new meaning to the phrase, 'that song is torture.'

Trent Reznor of the Nine Inch Nails, Britney Spears, and Marilyn Manson
Theo Wargo, Ethan Miller, Kevin Winter / Getty Images

A story that gives new meaning to the phrase, 'that song is torture.'

It may be hard to believe but Marilyn Manson, the Nine Inch Nails, and Britney Spears all have something in common. Their songs are on a list of tracks used during interrogations at detention centers around the world, giving new meaning to the phrase, “that song is torture.”

Consequence of Sound (COS) reports that the list was compiled in a book called The Penguin Book of Hell and that an excerpt was released to the public via Harper’s magazine.

Britney Spears hit song “Baby One More Time” is there alongside Manson’s “The Beautiful People” and Nine Inch Nails’ “Somewhat Damaged.” Some of the other songs include, “Drrty” by Spears’ one time alleged nemesis Christina Aguilera, Drowning Pool’s “Bodies,” Deicide’s “F**k Your God”, and Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”

The “I Love You Song” made popular by a purple dinosaur named Barney also made the list which should not come as a surprise to anyone who has heard it.

According to Consequence of Sound, these songs among others are played at maximum volume during interrogations at detention centers like Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and Mosul.

Marilyn Manson seemed proud of the fact that his song made the list as he posted it on Twitter. There’s no word yet on whether Britney Spears, Nine Inch Nails or any of the artists on the list have heard about it.

As Mic reported back in 2014, music has been in the CIA’s torture toolbox for several years now. It’s use started around the genesis of the enhanced interrogation program post 9/11.

Al Jazeera reports that in 2002, a man named Abu Zubaydah was reportedly transported in a pet carrier and chained to the ceiling of his cell and forced to listen to songs by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

As Mic notes, U.S. interrogators use the music to “disorient” and instill fear in the detainee.

“If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That’s when we come in and talk to them,” said Sgt. Mark Hadsell, a member of the U.S. Psychological Operations team, as published by Mic.

One detainee music torture described it as much worse than the physical beatings he received.

“I can bear being beaten up, it’s not a problem. Once you accept that you’re going to go into the interrogation room and be beaten up, it’s fine. You can prepare yourself mentally. But when you’re being psychologically tortured, you can’t.” said Ruhal Ahmed, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee in a 2008 interview you can see below.

At one point during the interview, he says that that the music torture was introduced in 2003 and that it broke him mentally.

“Before that, you could try and focus on something else. It makes you feel like you are going mad,” he added.

“You lose the plot and it’s very scary to think that you might go crazy because of all the music, because of the loud noise, and because after a while you don’t hear the lyrics at all, all you hear is heavy banging.”