Sam Stein's report that musicians are signing on to a Freedom of Information request for documents relating to the use of music as a torture tool at Gitmo leaves two questions unanswered.
First, why do human-rights campaigners fall for the misdirection inherent in the focus on Guantanamo Bay? Yes, Gitmo has become the internationally-recognized brand name for torture, American-style; but, as always, it's wise to look at the magician's other hand. In this case, that would be Bagram, the feared US Air Force base in Afghanistan where at least two of the recipients of our hospitality died under circumstances not resembling room service. Focusing on the closing of Gitmo merely invites the US government to move any detainees still in need of further such care to Bagram, which is in a similarly lawless situation, if not more so--since the Supreme Court's habeas corpus decision may or may not apply. If you want the United States to get out of the business of being Cheney Tortureco Worldwide, the focus should be on closing down all the shadow facilities where this behavior prevails.
Second, if the musicians really want to get at the government on the use of music for torture, why not get ASCAP and BMI on the case? Where are the royalties for the semi-public (over PA systems) use of their songs?
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