Making money from torture

I read that the Canadian group Skinny Puppy has billed the US government for $666,000 in royalty payments. No doubt the use of the sum 666 is thought to be witty. Why have they submitted this demand? A security guard and a fan at Guantanamo Bay told the band that its music had been used to torture prisoners, which could only be done by playing it.

I also read in Wikipedia that ‘The group is widely considered to be one of the founders of the electro-industrial genre.’ Until now I had no idea there was such a genre, but if the description is accurate it might commend itself to torture of the sensitive if played for any length of time. To judge from the royalty demand it was played at Guantanamo for weeks on end.

Like many, I first came across this abuse of music when the US military blasted Manuel Noriega with rock music prior to his capture in 1989. At the time he was holed up in the Apostolic Nunciature, the Holy See’s embassy in Panama, and crumbled after five days.

If, like me, you find the words hard to make out, the following is a transcript.

oil remove shred and tear radiation vapor
it’s the fear so unclear man in motion going nowhere
in our homes stuck in the face spread the dirt to populace
yellow journal yellow journal set the pace feel the rage
manifestations of a sort so insidious off the point
simple solution never confusion sport a gun kill a cop
crazy world of weary thought so receive me had enough
lock me up lock me up
rot and assimilate so hot to annihilate
deviation tonic mess prolonged existence innocence
is he who speaks isn’t weak wheelchair virtue so to speak
bubonic plague the truth of aids immunity avoid decay
in the trench of pestilence the bible screams announce your faith
mutterings of death to bring suffocate a newborn thing
degradation of an age venereal it’s all sensation
protect design the moral plan infallible as propaganda
completely black with no steps back
hot to assimilate we’ll rot or annihilate
agony profusely stains the inner thinking of the brain
accusations clanking chains experiments with the groans of pain
all prefer no one blames the terror in an animal’s screams
in cages our future – the answers insane


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